Granite School District won’t strike


    By Doug Anderson

    While teachers all over Utah are striking Tuesday, Dec. 5, teachers in Salt Lake City’s Granite School District are going about business as usual.

    Members of the Granite Education Association, the Granite School District branch of the Utah Education Association, decided to forgo participating in the one-day job action, said GEA President Debbie White.

    White said GEA representatives voted against participating in the strike primarily because district teachers staged a similar job action last February in which Granite teachers acted alone.

    “It’s not that we’re not supportive, but we already made our statement last February,” White said.

    White said GEA representatives from 100 district buildings spoke out overwhelmingly in favor of keeping schools open during the second week of October.

    “They felt it was putting our parents and students in a double-bind,” she said.

    Despite sitting on the sidelines, White said Granite teachers will show support by wearing a red-arm band with the UEA slogan, “Utah Students Deserve More.”

    Michelle Bartmess, spokeswoman for Granite School District, said many of larger districts in the state will have to close their doors to students as Granite did last February.

    “There are just not that many substitutes available,” Bartmess said. “You just close your doors and make it up later.”

    Bartmess said the school districts that have teachers involved in the job action will have to add an extra school day — either on a holiday or at the end of the school year — to meet the 180-day minimum children must be in class for the school year.

    Bartmess said the district understands the frustration of those teachers participating in the strike.

    She said Utah children rank low in the nation in expenditures per student and Utah’s Legislature has no current, long-term plan to solve public-school funding woes.

    “The bottom is not a good enough place for our kids,” Bartmess said.

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