Inadequate busing for field trips. Complicated curricula. Lack of computer equipment. Cramped facilities. Slow response time by school district maintenance crews.
These were a few of the concerns expressed this week to the Davis School Board during the first of its grass-roots meetings with faculty representatives of local school sessions.An hour before its regularly scheduled board meeting, the board hosted teachers from schools in south Davis County. Eight teachers received about five minutes each to address the board.
Joyce Rees, a first-grade teacher at Adelaide Elementary, said students there have a limited opportunity to take field trips. Noting the school is allotted only three trips per year, she said, "With seven grades, that equates to less than one trip per class per two years."
Vicki Smith, a sixth-grade teacher at Bountiful Elementary, said she and her colleagues believe elementary education needs to get back to the basics.
"Teacher frustration is very high with the overwhelming curriculum we are responsible for teaching . . . for example, the fourth-grade curriculum asks students to know details of soil conservation and productivity, including contour plowing, over-grazing, terracing, strip cropping (and) crop rotation."
Smith said elementary students should be given a strong foundation of reading, language and math with only "experiential" exposure to other fields.
Rodney Hill, who teaches at Woods Cross High, said 76 percent of the school's faculty are opposed to next year's school-year calendar, which has classes starting after Labor Day and ending the second week in June. Many teachers are concerned about losing their summer jobs as a result of the late end to the school year, Hill said.
He also complained of slow responses by district maintenance crews and wondered when and how the district planned to provide the school with updated computer equipment.
Bob Baldree, a fourth-grade teacher at Boulton Elementary, said the teachers' workroom and faculty room are too small to accommodate the teachers' needs.
Teachers from South Davis Junior High, Orchard Elementary, Muir Elementary and Woods Cross Elementary also addressed the board.
Afterward, the board decided to continue holding the forums but will require teachers to provide written handouts. Lynn Summerhays, board president, promised that the forums, to be held three to four times a year, will not be token gestures.
Board member Dan Eastman suggested the board make note of each item and reply back to the teachers.
"The meetings are a grass-roots effort by the district to get closer to the teacher body," Eastman said. "We're such a big district that I'm not sure the teachers know we are aware they exist. But we are."