EDUCATION

Frederick County teachers protest frozen pay with work-to-rule move

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A school budget battle in Frederick County, Maryland has hit a tipping point.

In red shirts, Frederick County teachers left work today the minute the official workday was over.

Teachers say they're sick of not getting the money needed for their students' educations.

Today, to make their point, the teachers worked until time was up. And not a minute more.

The very second their workday ended the teachers of Governor Thomas Johnson High School walked out. None stayed late for extra help. None stuck around to grade papers. It’s the start of a work-to-rule protest by Frederick County teachers trying to send a message.

“I feel let down and i feel disrespected,” says Heather Dapsauski, a teacher.

Greg Brennan, the head of the teacher's union, says their new superintendent recommended a raise after several years of frozen pay, but the school board said no, the money isn’t there. He says that's wrong.

“We have the third lowest starting teacher salary in the state,” Brennan says. “Frederick County is not the third poorest county in the state of Maryland.”

In the community most, but not all ABC7 spoke to say they support the teachers’ job action.

“I think its really really important that teachers do get paid more because they are absolutely essential to the health of society,” Frederick County resident Marc Weinberg says.

But Tori Taylor, another Frederick County resident, says, “I feel like teachers should do their job, and if that means staying after school to help their kids that means staying after school.”

The teachers say they're aware that unemployment remains high and many people are worse off than they are, but they say the county can afford a little extra.

“When they cut that budget, it’s demoralizing,” Dapsauski says.

Beyond symbolism and the attention the teachers are getting, it remains to be seen how much impact this work-to-rule action will actually have.

After today the schools are on spring break for a week.

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