Teachers float list, pressure district
Not marching in next year’s Labor Day parade.
Not going on field trips that extend past 3:45 p.m.
Those are among the job actions Janesville teachers are talking about taking into next year to step up pressure on the school board.
Talks on the 2007-09 contract broke off in September, and the school board has filed for mediation, but the two sides have not yet met with a mediator.
The teachers already are being asked by their union to “work the contract” by being in school only during the hours required by their contract.
Now, the Janesville Education Association is surveying its members to see how far they would go to express their displeasure with the board’s bargaining stance.
The JEA is sending members a list of suggested job actions and asking teachers to vote for the ones they’d be willing to do in the coming year.
Among others on the list are:
-- Not supervising out-of-town trips, such as Parker High School’s Washington Seminar.
-- Teaching summer school in other school districts.
-- Not submitting students’ artwork to art shows.
-- Giving up advising of National Honor Society.
Teachers are already committed to doing many of these things this school year, but they’re being asked whether they would refuse to do them in the 2008-09 school year.
“This is a brainstorming list of possibilities” developed by the union’s action committee, said Jennifer Fanning, co-lead negotiator for the teachers.
Does this mean the JEA expects the impasse to continue for many months?
“We’re hopeful that it won’t,” Fanning said. “We’re looking at mediation probably as early as January.”
The union and board have rarely if ever failed to reach an agreement before Christmas.
The action committee will compile teachers’ responses and then decide what actions to take, Fanning said.
Fanning said she hopes the teachers would not have to take any of the actions, but the union wants to be prepared.
Asked repeatedly whether the announcement is designed to threaten and bring pressure on the school board, Fanning would only say: “They can interpret it that way.”