Dorchester County Government and School Board Issue Joint Statement on Pension Shift

The Dorchester County Council and the Dorchester County Board of Education have issued a joint statement on the Governor’s proposed teacher pension shift to county governments.  An excerpt from the letter is below:

Dorchester taxpayers have already endured increased costs and decreases in services due to State cuts and State cost shifting in the last two years.  The most notable example is the State retaining $4.3million in gasoline tax revenues that had been provided to Dorchester County for decades.  Additionally, the State passing back the cost of the State Assessment Office costs Dorchester taxpayers an additional $350,000 annually. Dorchester County taxpayers experienced an eight cent increase in property taxes for the current year to offset a portion of these State actions.  County and school system employees have not had any type of pay raises for three years.  County government employees have been furloughed, positions have been cut, and layoffs have occurred.  The school system has cut positions and our students’ educational opportunities have diminished as class sizes have increased.

The State claims that one reason local government should pay their share of teacher pension costs is because local governments determine teacher salary increases.  That would imply that the Dorchester County Council has the ability to regulate the amount of the pay or is legally allowed to participate in the process of determining salaries for school system employees.  The Board of Education, as required by Maryland law, must negotiate with employee unions to determine wages, salaries, and working conditions. …Maryland statues does not permit county governments to have a role other than providing financial resources in determining teacher compensation.

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