Carroll Teachers To Work To Rule For 3 Days In Jan.

State Group Calls For No Homework, March On Annapolis

November 06, 1991|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff writer

For three days in January, Carroll teachers, like others across the state, are expected to watch the clock. They will arrive at and depart from schools at designated times. They won't be leaving with any homework to grade.

The work-to-rule job action and a rally in Annapolis were endorsed by the Maryland State Teachers Association last weekend at its annual convention in Ocean City. The measures are being sought to call attention to state cuts in funding for education and todemand that the General Assembly come up with a plan to raise revenue to restore the reductions.

"We're not coming out against children, administrators or the school system," said Stephanie Baker, one of about 20 Carroll delegates who attended the convention. "It's a way for all of us to show support for what we're trying to achieve."

The Carroll delegation overwhelmingly endorsed the job action, as well as a plan for a statewide rally Jan. 8 in Annapolis, the opening date of the General Assembly, said Cindy Cummings, president of the Carroll County Education Association, which represents about 1,300 teachers.

State cuts in aid to counties have meant a $1 million reduction in Carroll's $107 million school budget for fiscal 1992. In addition, the school district must make up $526,405 in lost state contributions to teacher pension and Social Security programs and $89,122 earmarked for non-mandated instructional programs.

The teachers association is demanding a tax planthat would eliminate all current cutbacks, restore the autonomy of local school boards and establish a Super Fund to ensure that every Maryland child will have adequate personal attention in the classroom.

"I think something has to be done," Cummings said. "We can't keep going further and further into debt and cut things that are really important to people."

The work-to-rule job action will begin Jan. 8.Cummings said that during the job action teachers will perform no uncontracted, uncompensated tasks of any kind.

"I hope the Board of Education will support us on that," Cummings said. "It's nothing against them. It's a statement to the legislature."

William H. Hyde, assistant superintendent of administration, said school officials havenot been informed officially of the proposed job action.

"We havean agreement with the teachers association that we both ratified," Hyde said. "That agreement was signed in good faith that each side would do all it could to have an effective working agreement. I'm confident that will occur."

Baker, a fourth-grade teacher at Charles Carroll Elementary School, said teachers rejected an initial MSTA proposal to stage a work-to-rule job action for a month.

"That would have done more harm than good," she said. "We can make a statement with three days and yet fulfill our job 100 percent."

Carroll delegatesto the convention said there would be support for the job action among the county's teachers.

"Word hasn't gotten out to the mass of teachers," said Ann Symmonds, a Freedom District Elementary teacher. "Most teachers are so busy getting report cards ready that it's not really a priority right now. But teachers are concerned about budget cuts."

Symmonds, who attended the convention to receive the Most Valuable Player Award for association involvement in Carroll County, said the district's teachers will receive more details about the Januaryevents after a districtwide meeting later this month.

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