The April 14 news article “Superintendent says programs may be cut if funding request isn’t met” reported the threat to cut school staff or programming for students if the $6 million increase for pay raises is not fully funded by the county commissioners.

Why do the teachers and staff deserve a pay increase? According to the school superintendent the school staff in St. Mary’s County make less than school staff in Charles and Calvert, so over the next three years the negotiated agreement implements salary increases to achieve “parity” with the other counties.

It is an agreement negotiated with the Education Association of St. Mary’s County and the school administrators’ union. Where in this good-old-boy, sweet-heart deal process is the presence of an impartial, good faith, honest representative of the interests of parents, students, and taxpayers? Obviously, the members of the elected school board, who rubber stamp these deals, are biased. What is needed is legislation to impose term limits on the elected school board.

The demand for pay parity for school employees was foreseeable when the county commissioners last year foolishly and irresponsibly granted the St. Mary’s sheriff’s office pay parity with the Maryland State Police. How can there be parity with other counties when the tax bases are dissimilar? Public service is not immune to the limitations of fiscal realities.

What benefit do parents, students and taxpayers receive from pay parity for school employees? There is no promise of improved employees’ performance and a better education for students. Education is the one occupation in which its employees suffer no penalties for failure.

Whereas the public schools were declared to be “non-essential” during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the unions sought to exploit the health emergency to create a “new normal,” and they have resisted the full-time reopening of the schools and have shown a general disregard for the welfare of children, they are entirely undeserving of pay increases.