Prince George’s County teachers rally against secret pay raises for central office staff

UPPER MARLBORO, MD. -- Members of the Prince George's County Educators' Association (PGCEA) held a rally on Thursday to complain about the allegations of unauthorized pay raises given to administrative personnel within the Prince George's County Public School's central offices.

"I am not here to demonize those who received a raise. Our fight is for basic fairness when it comes to proper compensation for our members," said PGCEA president Theresa Mitchell Dudley. She added that while teachers are set to get at least a six-percent pay increase this year, according to a school spokesman, it will not bring many teachers to where they should be. "We were promised by the county executive that they would put us on parity with surrounding jurisdictions when they came into office."

Prince George's County County Executive Rushern Baker said that he is committed to that promise.

"...our teachers have received an increase of 10% in their salaries over the past five years. Furthermore, the teachers union recent negotiation and signing of a new two-year contract with the school system in January included the largest pay increase they have received in over a decade," Baker said in a statement.

Mitchell Dudley also said the teachers' complaint is about more than just money, but also about the current leadership structure of the school system and called for a return to an all-elected school board. Several years ago, Maryland lawmakers gave the county executive the power to appoint the board leadership and CEO.

"That means the CEO must be accountable to the people of Prince George’s County. Not to anybody who thinks they might be the next Governor," said Mitchell Dudley.

But Baker disagreed.

"Prince George's County's been having issues for the past 30 years. We knew it would be difficult to turn it around. We've made progress over the last five years and I think if you look at the progress we've made in our school system over the last five years, it's the most progress I've seen in Prince George's County probably in the last 30 years," said Baker.