ANNAPOLIS, OCT. 9 -- Anne Arundel County teachers have ended a five-week work-to-the-rule job action that was intended to protest lower than anticipated salary increases and bring pressure on county officials for more pay the next time.
Susie C. Jablinske, president of the Teachers' Association of Anne Arundel County, said the job action, in which teachers worked only the hours specified in their contract, was successful in attracting attention to the pay complaints of county teachers, whose salaries are among the lowest in the Washington area. The teachers said they did not expect to get a pay increase because the County Council had already voted on their contract.
Last winter, the teachers negotiated an 8 percent pay increase with the County Board of Education. County Executive O. James Lighthizer, openly challenging the teachers, reduced that raise to 5 percent. Lighthizer has said that a 5 to 6 percent increase was fair and that he hadn't noticed any teachers leaving because of the wages.
The County Council increased their pay raise to 6 percent in June.
For two weeks before summer vacations began, teachers at many schools refused to work beyond normal school hours and picketed before and after classes. In August, teachers voted to continue their work-to-the-rule until the next round of contract negotiations, which are scheduled to start Monday.
Jablinske said the association's representative council voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to end the work-to-the-rule. "We wanted to make a statement that we had not forgotten," she said. "The general feeling was that we had a point to make and it was made." However, she said teachers plan to picket the next County Council meeting.
Don Buchanan, principal of Southern Senior High School in Harwood, said teachers were noticeably absent before classes began, and many left promptly at the end of the school day. But they clearly continued to work outside normal school hours, he said, because they came to class prepared.
"It was the little extra things they did after school that all of a sudden didn't happen anymore," Buchanan said. "Kids would notice that kind of thing. But they never truly worked to rule. If they had, it would have been noticeable almost instantly to the entire community."
"It wasn't as visibly noticeable as in the spring," said Oliver Wittig, principal of Severna Park Senior High School. "People weren't walking and carrying signs. I know that some people did leave at the appointed hour, but that happens anyway."
Jablinske would not reveal how much of a pay increase teachers are seeking.