The two sides are expected to resume talks.
Members of the Frederick County Teachers Association have rejected a new contract offer from the Board of Education. The vote was 68% against, and 32% in favor.
The agreement would have given teachers a step pay increase, but it wouldn't start until December.
"A lot of the teachers in this county felt that they couldn't understand why ours was partial step," says FCTA President Gary Brennan. "And why this system--a system and a county that's doing well financially compared with others--couldn't find a way to implement a full step this year."
The two sides hope to go back to the bargaining table.
"There was such disappointment that it seems that the Board of Education and the County Commissioners, decided way back in December, well before they knew what their final revenues were going to be, that maintenance of effort was all that was going to be given to the school system, and they would have to do anything in terms of salary within the existing dollars that they already had," says Brennan.
He says teachers have not had a step pay increase or cost of living adjustment for three years.
He says he believes the school system and the FCTA can come up with a good contract, even within existing appropriations.
If there is no agreement, an impasse can be declared, and a mediator would be brought in to help.
A few years ago, contract talks between the Board of Ed and the FCTA dragged on for months. Brennan hopes that doesnt' happen this time. "I really hope that we can find some way to get to an agreement. I don't think that what the teacher are expecting is unreasonable," he says.
If the two sides can't come up with a contract by the time the 2012-2013 academic year starts on August 27th, Brennan says teachers will report to their schools and be ready to conduct classes.
In Maryland, unlike some other states, public school teachers do not have the right to strike.