The WITS Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) cohort took a field trip to Annapolis to advocate for increased salaries for speech-language pathologists (SLP) in public schools. Ms. Miskowski, the CSD department head, was the representative advocating for increased salary. The CSD cohort spent the day with the Maryland Speech Hearing Association (MSHA) president, going around to different senators and delegates in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The CSD crew met with Senator Sarah Elfreth, Delegate Dana Jones, Delegate Ebersole, Chairman Brian Solomon, and Delegate Chang.
School districts are in desperate need of more SLPs to provide services for their students. In order to meet these needs, school districts are hiring private contractors from other states. This compensation costs a large sum of money for the schools because in addition to the SLPs, the schools are required to hire a staff member to assist the child.
The CSD cohort advocated for annual salary supplements of $10,000 for licensed SLPs to recruit, hire, and retain qualified staff. This salary incentive will attract competent SLPs and eliminate contractors. Although the bill has not passed for last year, it will hopefully pass in the coming year’s blueprint. Speech-language pathologists have the third to highest rate of vacancies in Maryland schools, and it is crucial to fill the public schools’ needs.