Stung by a surprise salary cut that was linked to a rise for full time teachers, substitute teachers in Montgomery County are reacting with anger and an effort to organize.
To raise money for the 6 per cent pay hike negotiated for full time teachers, the board of education last month reduced the daily rate for regular substitutes from $34.50 to $30. The action left substitutes with pay between the $35 paid in the District and the $27.50 paid in Price George's County.
"The best choice of lots of terrible alternatives," School Suerintendent Charles M. Bernardo termed the reduction.
"The unkindest cut of all," declared a substitute at Whitman High School.
For several yesar, substitute teachers - who are not unionized - were granted the same pay hikes given full time teachers, who are unionized. Fulltime teachers usually make at least twice the daily salary of substitutes.
But the salary decline began last year when a $46.35 ceiling was placed on the daily among substitutes could earn when employed long term, cutting the daily rate by as much as $10. In addition, substitutes did not get a cost of living raise although other teachers did.
Joan Van Winter, a substitute teacher from Silver Spring, said, "They picked on us because we don't have an organization. There's no one here to protect our interests."
A small group of substitutes is attemptigng to end that problem by forming the Maryland Association of Substitute Teachers (MAST), which they hope to extend statewide.
Their main barrier is that most substitutes have little contact with fellow substitutes. Some work only at one school and know only the handful of substitutes that work there.
But even those who choose to serve at several schools say they have difficulty getting to know others since they spend most of their time with children, not fellow teachers.
Armed with a list of substitutes that they coaxed from a sympathetic school secretary, the members of MAST have begun contacting the 2,800 persons who substitute in the county.
Gloria Botkiss of Kensington, co-chairman of the group, said, "We do not begrudge the teachers' their raise. But we feel it is unfair to take the money from us because we do the same work as the teachers in the classroom."
MAST was formed last week by about 35 substitutes teachers after they made overtures to the Montgomery County Educators Association (MCEA), the bargaining association for fulltime teachers, and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), a teachers' union.
Botkiss said they were told that most substitute teachers would not qualify for MCEA membership. Although there is a meeting scheduled next week with the AFT national representative, the majority of the MAST members favor not joining, she said.
"We would add to their treasury and they feel they would gain strength," said Botkiss. "But they have not been very specific about what they could do for us exept mailings, a lawyer and liability insurance.
"Most of the (fulltime) teachers we talked to are in sympathy with us. But they profited while we lost. The groups that worked for them could not work for us."
Botkiss said her own salary has never been a necessity but something for travel, retirement and putting her children through college.
She described the typical substitute as a woman who "does it not for the money but because she enjoys teaching, enjoys working with students and she feels that she is needed."
Judith Berenson, of Bethesda, a substitute for about six years, said, the pay cut is "an outrage . . . I resent being paid $5 a day more than the person who cleans my floors."
Respect, Botkiss said, is as important as money. In the MAST grievances, "not being treated as professionals" ranks second to wages.
"It's hell," said Evelyn Kaplan, a MAST members, of some substitute teaching jobs.
She spoke of sending a boy to the principal's office for yelling an obscenity at her then having him return minutes later with a note stating, "Marks says he's sorry."
While MAST has not reached the point of discussing ways to protect the interests of its members, administrators say that job actions could have only a limited effect because of the large numbers of people who wish to substitute. So many persons were on the list that they were able to stop processing applications for the 1976-77 school year in April.
"If one substitute refused to come in to work, another on the list might view the job as a golden opportunity," said a personnel specialist.
Also, most substitutes say there are few jobs where they can work limited hours in the early part of the day, leaving the afternoons free for shopping and being with their children.
"So many of us don't want to go to work 9 to 5, 12 months a week. We like working 10 months a year with holidays off. Where else can I work from 7:30to 2:30?" said Phyliss Zorning of Bethesda.