ANNAPOLIS, AUG. 31 -- Anne Arundel County teachers voted tonight to begin a work-to-the-rule protest of salary raises that they say are too small.
Teachers said they will not assist students after normal school hours and will not participate in after-school activities such as selling tickets at football games and chaperoning dances that they have traditionally done without pay.
Also, the teachers voted to refuse to ratify the contract that gives them 6 percent raises, even though that refusal will make no difference in that contract, which will be imposed upon them by the county. They said they will start a petition drive to change the county charter to allow voters to recall elected officials such as County Council members and the county executive.
Last winter, the teachers, who are among the lowest paid in the Washington area, negotiated an 8 percent pay increase with the county Board of Education. County Executive O. James Lighthizer subsequently reduced that raise to 5 percent, saying the that county could not afford to spend more. The County Council increased the raise to 6 percent in June.
For the two weeks before summer vacation began, teachers at many county schools refused to work beyond normal school hours and picketed before and after classes.
About 1,000 of the county's 3,900 teachers gathered at Severna Park High School tonight to voice their frustrations with the pay raise.
"We are having this work-to-rule as a protest of the county executive and County Council's refusal to make education a priority," said Susie C. Jablinske, president of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County. "This action isn't intended to go against the Board of Education or the students . . . . We're angry at the county executive's and County Council's total disregard for teachers. We are not going to do things that are going to injure the profession, but we are not going to continue to work like volunteers. If we wanted to be volunteers we would have joined the Peace Corps."
Jablinske said the job action will probably continue at least until October, when teachers are scheduled to begin negotiating next year's contract with the school board.
"I think we have made a statement, but it's not really as strong as we would like to make it," said Jane Moberg, a science teacher at George Fox Middle School, who is paid $33,143 a year after 15 years as a teacher.
"I'd be ready to strike. I think we feel that strongly." But it is illegal for Anne Arundel County teachers to strike, Moberg noted, adding, "This is better than nothing, but not a lot better than nothing."