Ellicott City, Maryland — Howard County Executive Calvin Ball and the Howard County Public School System today announced that all full-time HCPSS employees will receive a $1,800 Public Education Commitment Bonus this school year, among the highest bonuses in the State. Bonuses will be prorated for part-time employees. Following County Executive Ball’s offer of $8 million in American Rescue Plan funding and request that the Board of Education match his commitment, the Board of Education approved the use of $8.1 million of its federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) III grant to support these bonuses. Photos of the event can be found here.

“For our teachers and support staff, these past two years have been especially grueling, and I believe it is more important than ever to retain those committed educators who make our school system among the best in the nation,” said Ball. “I appreciate that our Superintendent and Board of Education have acted and joined me in demonstrating our gratitude for our educators as a reward for their hard work and dedication to our children.”     “Every school system staff member, including teachers, health care workers, custodians, administrators and support professionals play a direct role in taking care of our 57,000 students and ensuring our 77 schools remain operational. Our employees have had to pivot multiple times during this pandemic while tending to their families, yet their commitment to nurturing and educating our students has never wavered,” said HCPSS Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano. “As we contend with staff shortages, increased demands on workload, and a changing pandemic, these bonuses are just a small token of our appreciation. Thank you to County Executive Ball and the Board of Education for supporting the use of these funds to advance the bonuses."   Compensation adjustments for represented HCPSS employees is subject to final bargaining agreements and all HCPSS bargaining units, including HCEA, HCEA-ESP, AFSCME, HCASA-NCS and HCASA-Admin have agreed to receive these bonuses. Many peer school systems, including in Baltimore, Charles, Kent and Montgomery Counties, fully funded bonuses for educators through federal funding provided directly to school systems.   Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano requested County funding to provide employees with additional compensation as a recognition of their efforts during the pandemic. The County’s $8 million commitment is the largest in the State and one of two counties to dedicate funding for this purpose. The Board of Education also recently increased the pay rate for substitute teacher by 25 percent, making Howard County one of the highest in the state for substitute teacher pay.   “Time and again, HCPSS employees have stepped up to meet the changing needs and demands that have arisen during the pandemic,” said Board Vice Chair Antonia Watts. “We are immensely grateful for their steadfast commitment and dedication to supporting our students, and their willingness and ability to adapt to continuous change. We hope that these bonuses reflect our appreciation and inspire continued commitment to our district.”      "As an educator and father of an HCPSS student, I am thrilled about the $8M pledge by our County Executive, in funding from the American Rescue Plan for bonuses to HCPSS educators and staff, in addition to the $8.1M by HCPSS. The amazing educators and staff of HCPSS are essential for students and parents during these uncertain times,” said Howard County Council Chair Opel Jones. “I am thankful for Dr. Calvin Ball's and Dr. Michael Martirano's commitment and leadership to those who make our HCPSS one of the best school systems in the country!”   “This bonus is welcomed news to the over 8,000 educators and staff in our County, and it couldn’t come at a better time," said HCEA President Colleen Morris. "We have a long way to go to address the recruiting and retention crisis facing our schools, but this bonus shows that our elected leaders are on the same team when it comes to ensuring our staff feel valued and appreciated.”

"The employees under AFSCME local 1899 have been doing above and beyond as frontline workers since 2019," said Robert Coleman, President of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1899. "We would like to thank Calvin Ball, Dr. Martirano and Board Members for taking swift action for bonus increases for dedicated AFSCME workers."

"The Howard County Association for Supervisors and Administrators (HCASA) is extremely thankful to County Executive Dr. Calvin Ball, Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano, and the Board of Education for this bonus," said HCASA President Nicholas Novak. "HCASA members have played a vital role in leading our schools and the school system during the pandemic and we truly appreciate the support from Dr. Ball, Dr. Martirano, and the Board of Education."

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