The Alexandria Education Association, angered by the School Board's refusal to propose a 5 percent pay raise for its teachers, says it will send letters to prospective teachers suggesting that they would be happier working elsewhere.
The association's directors, meeting yesterday at T.C. Williams High School, also agreed to a series of job actions they say will show their unhappiness with the School Board's budget recommendations. They will demonstrate and adopt for the first time a "work-to-rule" plan, under which teachers will do only what is required by their contracts.
"We have just about had it," said Pamela Walkup, head of the association, which represents most city teachers. "It goes on year after year and this is the worst. We want to negotiate in good faith and we do not feel that was done with us."
Walkup said that for at least one week at the end of this month teachers will do only what their contracts dictate; they will not grade papers at home or plan classes outside school hours. In addition, letters will go out telling education students that working in a state where collective bargaining is illegal can be a disadvantage.
School Superintendent Robert W. Peebles originally proposed that teachers get 5 percent raises, but on March 20 the School Board cut that figure to 4 percent. Several board members said that the City Council, which must approve the school budget, would not allow any more than that.
"They keep saying that we reneged on an agreement," said Lou Cook, chairman of the School Board, "but that's not true."
A negotiating committee had originally proposed the 5 percent raise to keep minimum salaries in line with those in Fairfax and Arlington, Walkup said.
The minimum salary for new teachers next year would be $18,100, according to Walkup, almost $1,000 less than new teachers in several neighboring jurisdictions are paid. The average salary of $29,000 remains among the highest in the state, according to Walkup, who said the City Council pressured the School Board to reject the 5 percent increase.
"I know the teachers are unhappy, and I don't blame them at all," Peebles said yesterday. "I just hope their demonstrations and plans don't cause them more trouble than they solve."