Prince George's County Executive Parris Glendening yesterday asked the County Council to give $1.5 million to the school board to pay back about half the salary increases some school employes waived last year in order to save their jobs.
The 4,500 employes, who include bus drivers, clerical, cafeteria and maintenance workers, voted after hours of tense debate last spring to forgo previously negotiated raises, including cost-of-living salary increases, to avert a threatened layoff caused by a sharp cutback in the school system's budget.
School board members had said that they would have to fire about 150 of the so-called "classified" employes in order to meet their budget, as well as demote or reassign about 150 more. But members of the two unions that represent the employes voted instead not to take a 5.59 percent cost-of-living increase promised for the third year of their contract, which was to have begun last July 1, as well as an 18-cent an hour increase scheduled to begin last January. Union members also voted to take three unpaid days off this year.
The council is expected to approve Glendening's request at a later meeting. The increase will come from the county's unappropriated year-end surplus of about $5 million.
Glendening requested only about half the amount of money the employes were originally owed. The cost of the full package would have been about $3.3 million, but Glendening asked the council to allocate the rest of the surplus for new police cars and other public safety vehicles.
In other action yesterday, Glendening also submitted a request to the council for the creation of a special fund to pay for a shelter and services for battered women. Funds for the shelter will come from a $15 million increase in marriage license fees approved by the General Assembly last year. In nine months the new fees have raised about $83,000. The funds will be distributed to a shelter being established by a private non-profit group under contract to the county. It is scheduled to open this month.
According to James Hubbard, president of the board of the group, Prince George's has the second highest number of spousal assaults yearly in Maryland, but is one of only two counties that does not have a shelter or services for battered women.