DISD Teacher Calling For Leap Day ‘Sick Out’ Protest

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A teacher in the Dallas Independent School District is calling for a ‘sick out’ to protest last week’s decision to lengthen the work day for educators. This is just the latest in a string of conflicts for the DISD. Many parents are upset after the school board voted to shut down 11 campuses.

The teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous, is using a play on words to help make his point. He wants DISD teachers to call in sick on February 29 – Leap Day – to show that the DISD is taking a big leap backwards.

Teachers and members of the community are fuming over recent decisions made by the school board trustees. In a contentious meeting last Thursday, the school board voted to close 11 schools due to massive budget cuts. Many of those campuses are underutilized, and enrollment is very low. However, some are operating at capacity, and parents would like their students to stay at those schools.

Residents are also worried that empty school buildings will affect their property values or attract crime. District officials said that, when the schools close over the next two years, the buildings and lawns will be maintained.

“We are going to maybe think about moving to get into a good school district,” said parent Grace Jeffrey. “I don’t know how we’re going to find something like this.”

The school board is still taking steps to cut down the budget. Teacher layoffs have not yet been discussed. Officials said that it is still too early to know if any staff members will lose their jobs.

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  • mskat

    DISD is going AzzBackward. Why don’t that so-called board give up part of their salary. Are they going to work more for nothing more. Get real
    people. The pure fact is the Parents need to get very involved and they need to know that they really makes the decisions for their children.. PARENTS STOP DISD BEFORE WE HAVE NO TEACHERS OF VALUE. TEACHERS some of you are here for a paycheck , yes I understand that but, why allow DISD to be-little your education, you went to school to teach and yu should be allowed to do that. IF THEY DON’T WANT TO PAY DON’T GIVE ANOTHER MINTUE OF YOUR TIME. Why should you have to babysit another mintue. If the BOARD want some one to work extra they should be the ones in the class rooms. I can only bet none of them have been in a class room in years. Why because they can’t teach. DISD GET A GRIP. I agree with whoever is protesting. Not just one day make it a week and lets see who needs whom.

  • Bob

    Teachers have almost 3 months off for summer break and they are complaining that they have to work an extra 45mins? Get a grip!! Most Americans work 9+ hrs, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year. Most of us do have 2 weeks for vacation.

    • Reggie


      This is the oldest argument in the world. Just because you are not in education doesn’t mean that you have to put educators down. Educators are paid for what they work for. In some districts students go to school all year. Of course the teacher pay goes up between 8,000-15,000 per year. Most districts in in TX don’t want to pay that much to teachers. So just because teachers are off during the summer doesn’t mean that it is free vacation. Their pay is spread out over the year. Also, teachers are usually in some type of training or professional development during the summer. So this means that they don’t necessarily have the entire time off.

    • Jeff D Johnson

      You have no clue what educators actually work do you? Or what it takes to try and do their job? You get to sit back and criticize them without being in their shoes. Why don’t you go work as a teacher for a year and then come back with your arrogance if you can.

      • rd

        A week for spring break, 3 months for summer break, a week for fall break, a week for winter break. That’s 15 weeks time off. If they can’t handle kids, they shouldn’t have gone into the business. I work an extra 45 minutes minimum every day. I couldn’t be a teacher because I don’t like kids, but I’d like to see one of them do my job. Comparing jobs doesn’t cut it, because most of the time, people go into what they are good at. Real jobs don’t give you 15 weeks off, so they need to grow up and realize that they are lucky to have a job. If I had seen the massive layoffs at my job that teachers have seen, I sure wouldn’t be flapping my mouth about an extra 45 minutes a day. I’d shut up and be glad I still had mine.

      • Ron Jones

        what a crock! If teachers really taught maybe our kids could read. Put them all on a merit based pay scale and fix the problem once and for all.

    • Diane Cannon

      YOU get a grip….until u walk in their shoes shut your mouth! I taught 29 years and averaged 60+ hours a week which included working on paperwork on weekends. Three months my butt…..AND teachers are not paid for ANY days they are off…it is spread over a period of time. I’d like to see you in the classroom for just one month. You’d run with your tail between your legs. Shame on you.

    • Rogelio Mendez

      I’m a Student. I do Homework, A lot of it. My backpack is overflowing right now. Imagine that times 200 and having to grade each.

      • Dan

        As a student – work ethics begin with parents and teachers, learn from them. As a fellow worker in the work force – its called work for a reason and you’ll understand that once you face the realities of workloads, deadlines and stresses that come with every job.

    • Jason

      Make no mistake that educators are only paid for the days they work. The three months off are not paid vacation (although the annual pay is split into 12 equal monthly payments) Those spring breaks, MLK days and semester breaks are not compensated days, but rather unpaid time off. Educators are paid a daily rate only for contract days. This is why so many teachers work during the summer. There is NO paid vacation in education other than sick ays.

      • Dan

        They also knew that going into it……

    • IZAAK

      Keep in mind that teachers on average work and additional hour a day beyond the work day. So if a teacher has a school day that ends at 4 then they usually do not leave until 5. Now add in another 45 minutes. This in and of itself may seem small but now add in the days that their is a staff meeting, department meeting, parent conference, ARD meeting, staff development, clubs, and other activities that are required beyond the teaching day. Many teachers do not leave the campus for 2-3 hours beyond what is expected.

      As for the issues of days off, that i know people are thinking about, teachers get paid for 187 days in Texas. That pay is disbursed monthly. A teacher is able to choose to spread the pay over 9 months or 12 months. Despite a 9 month salary scale a teacher is many times required, without extra pay, to attend trainings and workshops during the summer months.

      I think that many teachers would have a far less problem with the changes being made if they were included in the changes. When faced with a budget shortfall many teachers would jump at the chance to work an extra 45 minutes if they were given the choice. Many teachers in the past have opted to resign when given the choice, but if not given a choice in how your work is performed there is always a possibility that the people you depend on will “REVOLT”.

    • kathy

      Those people make WAY MORE MONEY than we do too!!!!

  • rd

    Yes of course their pay is spread throughout the year, but they still have more time off. I have 14 days vacation plus 4 PTO days. I bet the teachers, extra training or not, have a LOT more time off than that. And Diane, just as I said before, if someone can’t handle kids, they shouldn’t be in the job. Just because you can handle it doesn’t mean someone else can. And just because someone else can handle their job doesn’t mean you can. Try a job in the private sector where you have a micromanaging boss who hovers over you every minute, where you worry about whether your key is going to work when you get there every day, and yes, we DO work extra hours, weekends, midnights, whatever the boss tells you to do. If you say no, bye-bye to you. If people in the real world told their boss that they aren’t coming to work because they have to work an extra 45 minutes, he would have no trouble replacing them. I posted a job opening on craigslist for my company last week, and got over 200 responses within an hour, so there are plenty of people willing to take a job when someone else doesn’t appreciate the job they have. If you don’t like your job with the kids, try it out in the real world where you aren’t coddled so much and then come back and whine.

  • Jake34

    The local Dallas news has reported that the 1st bill for Texas taxpayers to provide security for Rick Perry as he was gallivanting around the country has come in at $800,000.00. And that is just the 1st bill!

    How many teachers could have been hired for that kind of money that ultimately was thrown away on his failed campaign?

  • CHarris

    WOW!!!!!! I am so surprised at the number of misinformed people who leave comments on all of the recent articles focused on the call for a sick-out. It is clear that you cannot reason with many of these people and the only way they will truly understand what it is like to be a teacher is to actually step foot in a classroom – which they won’t. I can tell you that teaching is probably one of the hardest jobs to do, especially in a low-income, high-risk school.

    To rd…an honest question for you: what would you do if you had to teach a writing class of 25 7th graders when half of them could not read on grade level- many can’t read past a 4th grade level? What if you already worked 10 hour days, trying desperately to contact parents who would not help, showing up early and staying late for tutoring that noone comes to, AND to top it all off, you’re told that if those kids can’t write by the test date then your job is in jeopardy? Seriously, step back a second, try to be open-minded and think about this…

    You probably work with adults who can be fired if they don’t hold up their end of the deal, as do most other working professionals. Working with kids is different. Teachers work with students that, regardless of the effort they and their parents put forth, cannot be removed from the classroom. So no matter how great of a teacher you are, and no matter how many hours a day you put forth, you are told you are a failure because a 16-year-old 7th grader (you read that right!) refuses to do anything and his parents don’t care. Teachers deal with this every single day on a scale that you may be able to fathom. I appreciate our differences of opnion, but you don’t have to be so disrespectful about it.

    • Still Skeptical

      Well said.

      I don’t like the sick out but I understand the frustration teachers have with an arbitrary decision like this and apparently having no other way to voice their opposition.

      I’ve been told the 45 minute addition was a response to teachers who do not see students in first period, so the teacher doesn’t show up until the beginning of second period. I don’t know if that was the impetus, but if so, this is a horroble way to address the problem.

      • Dan

        The rest of us would have been given a choice – adjust and do your job – or find your way to the door. Teaching is a very public issue and as a parent I am fine with how DISD went about addressing this.

  • Bill Betzen

    Everyone angry about what is happening to our teachers and students must contact their legislators! The ones who voted “Yea” to Senate Bill 1 (SB1) are the ones are responsible for the $5 billion in educational budget cuts that have led to this crisis. We must focus on those who voted to pass SB1 which was the budget bill that cut the educational budget. Generally speaking “Yea” votes for SB1 were along party lines, but that is not always true.

    SB1 was passed 6-28-11 in special session. The final votes are online. See http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/Actions.aspx?LegSess=821&Bill=SB1 This page is the actions page for SB1.

    Just click on the most recent votes tabs for both the House and Senate at the top of the page. You can see the names of those legislators responsible. We need to be calling their offices now asking for the reasoning behind their votes. Then get ready for the next election, attend campaign gatherings, and ask questions. Our children need advocates to stand up for them effectively!

  • NiteNurse

    it’s amazing that the general public doesn’t realize that the public school system is basically a socialist service. I don’t have children and so I hope all the public schools shut down because I am forced to pay for something I don’t use. Let all the kids go without education as far as I’m concerned. Just like everyone with health insurance not wanting to fund those without. Public school education isn’t essential as far as I’m concerned. Shut every non essential service down and see how all the right winged conservatives like it.

    • Jeff D Johnson

      That has to be the dumbest thing I have seen you post here.

      • NiteNurse

        Wow that’s deep. I’m sure your parents are proud of you. Now go get a job idiot so you can pay your school taxes.

  • Bob

    So does this mean they no longer have to spend 3 to 4 hours in the evening grading papers and preparing for class the next day? My niece is a 4th grade teacher in Killeen and just because she leaves school around 4pm that does not mean her day is over.

    What I have not seen mention of is what the teachers are suppose to do during this 45 minute detention period? As a student when I got detention (rare) we had specific activities we had to complete.

  • Bob A.

    Note: the Bob in this post January 30, 2012 at 12:28 pm. Has no relation to the Bob in January 30, 2012 at 8:27 am post.

  • FedUpTxn

    Upset Teachers should be writing their state and federal representatives that their jobs, and American children are being denied their basic rights because the schools and cities are now so overwhelmed with people here illegally that we cannot afford to support any more. Any politician or party willing to grant amnesty to criminals and refuse to crack down on this economic disaster should not be getting any American’s vote.

  • Jeff D Johnson

    NiteNurse, my educator parents are very proud of me and my degree in education. I pay my taxes even though I do not have children in school yet. I have been consistently employed since the age of 16 which means I have worked for 25 years. You want to call me an idiot? I spent 10 years working for a school district and have vastly more knowledge of these things than you ever could. And yet again by your above post you prove my earlier statement about the intelligence of your posts here.

    • NiteNurse

      Wow did you not understand my sarcasm? I want education and healthcare FOR EVERYONE! Calling me dumb just goes to prove how well you did giving me my public school education.

  • Trent Barton

    Advocating that you leave children without teachers just to make a political statement is very telling of a very disgruntled and cynical group of so called professionals. Not very professional at all. The issue is often when you point out the short coming of some they react as you are attacking all teachers, even if that one you are discussing is a bad apple. They make it impossible for accountability because they don’t allow individual take responsibility individually. This teacher, who is remaining anonymous, telling their fellow employees to sick out is plain wrong and should be terminated. Where is the sacred education position they so sacrificially speak of. You don’t leave a child without a teacher for any reason period. You don’t abandon you solemn oath so you can rant and rave. People in the private sector don’t have the luxury of pulling a stunt like that as they would be simply fired. Also this notion that unless I come and teach for a week, then I don’t have the right to offer criticism, is preposterous and yet again another attempt to say they have it so hard.

    The entire issue got started with a school board member asking all teachers to work a full 8 hour day. If a teacher is working 50 – 70 hours a week, then they shouldn’t be worried about this. If the teacher is getting their job done and knows they have to work a full 8 day, then again, they shouldn’t have any problems with this reasonable rule. The few that screaming like we are persecuting them are most likely the ones that aren’t putting in the full 8 hour day and are now getting mad about the accountability. Most teachers do a great job, work hard and love their students and these bad apples are ruining it for all. If DISD was filled with such sacrificial servants, then I guess it is all those administrators that the reason for a failing school district. I work a 9 – 12 hour day and work 51 weeks a year. I have also started or being in the planning group of over 10 charter schools. Each charter school I have seen had 100’s of applicants for teaching position and I have never seen one of them complain about a 8 hour workday. That is because it was required that they spend 9 hours a day. The charter school teacher also gets higher pay and considerable less turnover. The teacher complaint Is not as pure and innocent as they want you to think. As they say—“ The lady (or man) doth protest too much, methinks” gender neutral

    Just my thoughts

  • Dan

    Teachers should be doing their job because they love to teach – the district members are paid to make the best decisions possible for the community and for the district. If these teachers cannot seperate that difference in responsibilities than they shouldn’t be teaching. If my child’s teacher partakes in any kind of activity for the purpose of expressing a grievance at the expense of my child’s education – I will have a very big problem with that and will expect corrective action towards that teacher just as the rest of us would face. Don’t use my child as a political tool.

  • Rene

    I agree with Dan.

  • N.Kirby

    It’s all about what you don’t have- what you have somehow twisted this story into. They haven’t taken anything from you, “those people” are educating the future of this country, “those people” work 12 hours (sometimes more) a day, “those people” don’t make nearly what they should, often times “those people” have to take up jobs on the weekends just to make ends meet, all because “those people” love to educate, love children, love to help, ect, and not “those people” have been endlessly attacked lately… Why? If you’re angry about layoffs, angry about your house being forclosed on, angry your pay was cut because of the economy. You’re naieve as hell if you think a teacher took this from you. So figure out who you should be angry at! Who cause the housing market buble? Teachers? Who caused the current economy? Teachers? Who caused the banking crisis? Teachers? NO! Now, ask yourself- how do you fix a slow economy, how do you get better/more capital? EDUCATION. For god’s sakes, wake up and realize this contention a trivial distraction from what ACTUALLY hurt our country, and you are spending all this energy ripping apart an educational system that is already under funded and under appreciated. Look at the rest of the world…. nooow look at where America has fallen in global education rankings. Sad. Wake up America, the future started yesterday, and you’re already late.

  • N Dall

    Rather brave, in a climate where teacher layoffs are becoming common. I realize many teachers already put in long hours, but I also know many people who would be happy to have a job. If teachers are already working long hours without additional compensation, what is another 45 minutes. I mean, if they are already working over 40 hour week, having the 45 minutes recognized won’t change anything.

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