A local affiliate of a national teachers union has called for a work slowdown among Jordan School District teachers unless the state surplus is used to restore $4.3 million in district budget cuts.
The Jordan Federation of Teachers, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, represents only 100 of the 1,600 teachers in the Jordan School District. Most teachers belong to affiliates of the Utah Education Association, which negotiates contracts for all of the state's teachers.At a news conference Thursday, the head of the Jordan Federation of Teachers said budget cuts approved last month will have "a disastrous and potentially permanent effect on the district's classrooms."
The cuts would eliminate 52 teaching positions and increase the size of every classroom by an average of one student. A total of 19 different areas would be affected, including school libraries and programs for gifted students.
Rich Hallstrom also said that the best solution to the problems the cut will cause is using some of the state's surplus to supplement the district budget instead of refunding it to taxpayers as suggested by Gov. Norm Bangerter.
If the surplus money, estimated to be at least $75 million in income tax revenue alone, is not made available, he said, teachers should stage a work slowdown.
"Teachers should punch the clock, hand out worksheets, assign chapters in the book, check off students who return them, then punch the clock and leave the job behind," Hallstrom said.
He said if lawmakers allow schools to become "education factories," teachers should have a clear conscience by only going through the motions of teaching.