County Teachers Join Actions Protesting Education Budget Cuts

January 08, 1992|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff writer

Dave Anderson believes parents don't realize how badly state budget cuts are hurting their children's education.

Today, the third-grade teacher plans to send parents and lawmakers a message from Freedom Elementary School and Annapolis.

He will join Carroll teachers and others across the state in work-to-rule action. For three days -- today through Friday -- teachers will arrive and leave school at contractually designated times.

This afternoon, teachers at Freedom will join a Carroll caravan of about15 buses bound for a statehouse rally to protest cuts to education programs.

"I don't think the general public realizes how badly all this is hurting kids," Anderson said. "We have to do something this year. We can't wait."

Cindy Cummings, president of the Carroll County Education Association, which represents about 1,300 teachers, saidabout 700 Carroll teachers, school staff, board members and parents will attend the hour-long rally.

"We want to make legislators and the public aware of the cuts in education and how it will affect their children," she said.

Some schools, responding to earlier rounds of budget trimming, are not ordering books and have left computer labs set up but not operating, she said. Many educators worry that further cuts will mean hiring freezes and layoffs.

Meanwhile, the school staff is wrestling with a request from the county commissioners to trim $2 million from the district's $106 million budget for fiscal 1992. The staff is expected to present the school board with several options today.

Overall, about 20,000 people, including members of other labor organizations, are expected to attend the Annapolis rally, said Roger Kuhn, a spokesman for the Maryland State Teachers Association.

He said participation in the work-to-rule action is expected to be high.

"We don't have any figures on that, but everyone in the state will be doing something," he said.

The work-to-rule actionis voluntary, Cummings said. Neither the school board nor the administration has endorsed the measure.

"We're certainly not out to hurt children in any way shape or form," Cummings said. "It's not something meant to be detrimental to the children or against the Board of Education, the public or the county commissioners. It's just to make astatement. If the legislature cuts funding, teachers are going to have to cut services."

Anderson said teachers at Freedom will meet at 8:05 a.m. in the parking lot each day and then walk together to their classroom five minutes later. They will leave the building at 3:40p.m.

Typically, about 75 percent of the teachers remain an hour or so after closing to grade papers or prepare lessons, he said.

"We will be giving up some of the time we usually give to the job," he said.

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