The Baltimore County teachers' union rallied at the Board of Education headquarters in Towson yesterday to protest mandatory furlough days that Superintendent Robert Y. Dubel imposed last week.
With signs saying, "Furloughs, the most unfair of taxes" and "These cuts won't heal," about 150 educators stood outside the board offices on Charles Street as evening rush-hour traffic breezed past.
The teachers were upset over Dr. Dubel's plan to impose the furlough days during time the teachers would normally be working in school without students. They said they will end up having to work those days anyway -- without pay.
"We are really fed up with the whole deal," said Ray Davis, 46, a social studies teacher at Lansdowne Middle School. "I came from Lansdowne to be here. It's important."
Mr. Davis, a teacher for 24 years, said the four days without pay will cost him $1,000, money he referred to as a "tax on teachers."
The teachers are hoping to pressure the school board into altering Dr. Dubel's furlough proposal, so the time off will be the last three scheduled school days.
They note that state law requires 180 classroom days for students, but Baltimore County scheduled 184.
The extra days are put into the calendar in case of snow or other bad weather. The only snow day the county took this year was Feb. 13, which Dr. Dubel said would be one of the four furlough days.
Dr. Dubel announced his furlough plan last week, in response to County Executive Roger B. Hayden's report that projected county revenues are $23.5 million short for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.
The school board's budget has been reduced by $7.8 million, and Dr. Dubel said Mr. Hayden required that the money come out of the salary budget.
From his office, Dr. Dubel could see the protesters as they arrived about 4 p.m. yesterday. "They don't want furloughs," he said. "I don't want furloughs either, but I don't have the money."
Under Dr. Dubel's plan, teachers would take off June 18, the day after classes end, though normally a work day. Teachers would also be off half of each of four other school days.
Ed Veit, president of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County, suggested that teachers not come to work at all on those furlough days. "We work 180 days," Mr. Veit said. "If they want us to work more, pay us."