About 1,000 D.C. teachers met with their union leadership last night to protest having to report to work tomorrow -- six days before their contract goes into effect -- but school board members said the issue was moot because teachers will be fully paid despite existing contract provisions.
Washington Teachers Union President Harold Fisher told the teachers, who met at Greater New Hope Baptist Church in Northwest, that the school board made an "oversight" when it voted in May to open schools early this fall. "The contract stipulates that teachers get paid for working from Sept. 3 to June 30, 1986. They do not have the legal authority to pay teachers for working in August."
Many of the teachers, concerned that they would not be paid, said they would not report for work until next Tuesday, which is the first day of classes.
School board member Eugene Kinlow (At Large) told a reporter later, however, that the problem seems to stem from a "failure to communicate clearly."
"The school year starts earlier this year," Kinlow said, "but the length of the school year has not changed. Teachers will still work 190 days, and they will get paid for each of those days that they work.
"I think something can be worked out if we can just sit down and talk with the union," Kinlow added. "It would be unfortunate if you have a lot of teachers not coming to school simply because they did not know what the issues were. There was no comment from union leaders last May when we voted to change the school calendar."