Madera Teachers Organize Work Slowdown

FRESNO, Calif.

This week, while the school day ends for students in Madera so does the work day for their teachers.

Typically, teachers will work longer days, on their own time, to do things like prepare for the next day and grade papers.

"It's just a way to show we do a lot more, and to give us the respect for that is really important," John Seybold, the First Vice President of the Madera Unified Teachers' Association, MUTA. He and the MUTA President Kathy Horn met with Action News Tuesday. They say the work slow-down is meant to prove a point.

"I don't know that a work slowdown is in the best interest of our students," said MUSD spokesperson Jake Bragonier. He said the slowdown is also unnecessary.

MUTA recently expressed its lack of confidence with MUSD through an ad in a local newspaper. Teachers in the district were also given a flyer, which outlined the rules of the slow down. They include teachers performing their duties as outlined in their work contract, showing up and leaving work right on time, and taking no work home with them.

"I'm not thrilled about it whatsoever," said a MUSD parent who was unaware of the slowdown. The mother of three said the change in pace will prove a point, but not the one the teachers are hoping for.

"I personally think that there's not going to be a better respect," she said. "They're going to see it as they're not doing their jobs."

Mack Ramierez, a father of two MUSD students, said the teachers working with his children deserve more. "They should get a lot more respect. It's a hard job teaching a lot of kids," he said.

MUTA is also upset at how the district plans to spend $3.4 million in federal money, meant to save teachers' jobs.

Bragonier said the district wants to put the extra money toward salaries, but MUTA wants the district to reduce furlough days.

Another major issue between MUSD and teachers, especially at elementary schools, is class size. MUTA said the district wants to set class size averages at 28:1, but MUTA wants to see the 28:1 as a maximum class size, not an average.

MUSD and MUTA will go to mediation over that issue on Friday.

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