Across the San Mateo-Foster City School District, teachers are cutting out volunteer hours and after-school help for students to support a protest against the district.
What started at Bowditch Middle School has been joined by 11 other campuses, where teachers are instituting a program of “Work to Rule,” on specific days. Under Work to Rule, the teachers work their contracted 7 hours and 15 minutes each day, nothing more.
“In no way are teachers going to ignore their responsibilities,” San Mateo Elementary Teachers Association President Carol Delgado said. “We’re going to abide by our job duties as listed in our contracts and nothing more.”
The association and the district have been negotiating with a mediator since May 8, after declaring an impasse in negotiations.
The teachers association is asking for a 15.35 percent salary increase this year, unspecified increases over the next two years and full health, medical and dental coverage for their families. They’re also looking for a $10 increase in hourly pay for work done outside normal work hours.
The district has offered an increase this year of 4 percent, plus a 2 percent one-time increase and a .5 percent stipend for teachers with special credentials or training.
The association originally called for the program on May 24, 29 and 31 and June 5 and 7, but Delgado said many schools are electing to do it every day until June 8. Teachers from Baywood, Audubon, Brewer Island, College Park, Fiesta Gardens, Foster City, Highlands, Laurel and Sunnybrae Elementary schools, as well as Bowditch, Bayside and Abbot Middle Schools are all participating in the Work to Rule program.
Teachers at Highlands Elementary School are beginning the program today, and although it means less time to devote to students who need special attention or additional help, the Highlands Parents group supports the decision.
“I’m really sorry that it had to come to this, but these are desperate times and I think the teachers have put up with enough,” said Susan Solomon, mother of Hillsdale second- and fourth-grade students.
Last week, Assistant Superintendent Mary Willis sent a letter to all district teachers reminding them that any refusal to perform assigned duties “may be subject to discipline.”
The next negotiation date is set for June 12.