City teachers ratify new contract

Baltimore teachers voted Thursday to ratify a three-year contract that will give them annual raises of 1 percent and opportunities for promotion, but leaves uncertainty about evaluations and a career ladder that was introduced three years ago.

Union officials said that more than 1,000 votes were cast, with the majority in favor of the contract. They said specific vote counts would only be released to members of the union.
Marietta English, president of the Baltimore Teachers Union, said the pact "demonstrates Baltimore teachers' willingness to create incentives for boosting teacher and student performance."

"It's significant that teachers are getting a raise and keeping benefits that are precious to them," she said in a statement. "With this contract our teachers will continue to inspire ways to improve teaching and learning."

State assembly budget expert says O'Malley's budget savings may not be enough.

Warren Dechenaux, the Maryland Legislature's top budget analyst, testified before the assembly yesterday that O'Malley's budget cushion of $30 million may not be enough to cover unexpected spending, which has averaged $145 million in the past few years (and is expected to include things like increased cost of defendants at bail hearings, as required by a new court decision).

In addition, the balancing act by O'Malley's last budget includes tapping into reserves of the employee health benefit fund, and lowering state contributions by $100 million.