They will only do what's required in the union's contract.
"Work to Rule" will be the policy of the Frederick County Teachers Association beginning on March 30th. That means teachers will honor the letter of their contract by spending 7 and-a-half hours each day in classroom instruction, and grading papers. After that, they will go home, and not take on any extra duties outside of the contract, such as sponsoring student extra-curricular activities.
This follows a decision last month by the Board of Education to slash in half the salary resource pool by $5.7-million when they approved their budget request totaling $515.1-million. The money in the salary pool is used for pay raises.
FCTA President Gary Brennan told the Frederick News-Post that it appears the County Commissioners and the Board of Education have not shown commitment to public education that the employees have.
This concern was evident in comments made by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Theresa Alban after the Board of Ed approved its budget request in February. "I understanding the Board's desire to present a budget that balances expenses with revenues, and I recognize that these are challenging economic times. Still, I am deeply concerned that this budget does not include the full salary resource pool that would provide a pay raise for our employees," she said in a statement. "Competitive salaries were the first priority of our leadership team because not only are we our losing our competitive edge in recruitment, we are also not rewarding the excellence and dedication of our existing staff."
Dr. Alban says the Board can find ways within the budget to fund the salary resource pool to provide employees with raises, but it may mean something else suffers. "The Board will continue to look for options and ways to either increase that salary resource pool, or leave where it is and negotiate with the union," she said. "So it's a long, painful process."
When crafting the budget, the Board had considered increasing class sizes in the secondary schools by one student, which would have eliminated 45 teaching positions. But decided against it, after hearing from parents.
The Board of Ed's proposed budget is now in the hands of the County Commissioners, who will hold a public hearing on the spending plan on May 2nd at Thomas Johnson High.