Students who cheered a day out of school when teachers walked out recently will find there's a price to pay. A day will be added to their school year, either chopped from a vacation period or snatched from a weekend to make up the lost day.
Teachers are not likely to lose a day's pay for their work action but will have to make up the time as well.Superintendents from the state's 40 districts, meeting in Salt Lake on Monday, indicated they will add a school day somewhere in the calendar year so they meet the state's 180-day requirement for holding classes. A waiver from the State Board of Education would be necessary otherwise.
Some districts have settled on a makeupday, but the majority of superintendents indicated they have not met with local board members to set a day.
The schools in which teachers walked out on Friday, Sept. 25, will receive their state funding for that day, said State Superintendent James R. Moss. Students arrived at school and classified employees were on the job, so the day will be counted as a school day, he said.
A one-day loss of funding would range from $4,705 in Daggett District - the state's smallest - to $895,606 in Granite District - the largest. In all, the per-day cost of education in Utah is $5,122,086.
Districts are responsible for determining if teachers will be docked financially for the walkout day, Moss said, and for any other disciplinary actions boards choose to take, which could include sanctions for breach of contract. None of the districts has indicated an inclination to take legal action against teachers.
Although superintendents did not condone the walkout, which was illegal under Utah law, their association has expressed sympathy with the teachers' frustrations and the need for more education funding.
Districts have the option of offering a career ladder day to give teachers the opportunity to make up the walkout day, Moss said. He urged, however, that districts work through their career ladder committees to make an arrangement.
Changes in career ladder plans require approval by the State Board of Education.
"If a local board chooses to change its calendar and call the teacher walkout day a career ladder day, it may hold a regular day of school later in the school year for a previously scheduled career ladder day without any financial penalty," Moss said in a written comment. "All teachers in the district should be eligible for funding for the extended day if it is made available to any teachers." Such a career ladder day would have to be scheduled on a day other than a regular school day.