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Jordan Education Association to picket district



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WEST JORDAN -- Members of the Jordan Education Association (JEA) plan to do information picketing about the Jordan School District's proposal to cut 500 jobs -- including 250 teacher jobs -- at parent-teacher conferences over the next two days.

But the district says the efforts should be directed at the Legislature Wednesday afternoon.

The JEA says its members will be picketing at various high schools Wednesday afternoon as a way to inform community members about why they're upset at the district for wanting to cut jobs and increase class sizes.

Robin Frodge, president of the Jordan Education Association, said, "You cannot have a strong community if you do not have a strong public school system."

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Frodge was in attendance at Tuesday night's Jordan School Board meeting where hundreds of people turned out to express frustration with the district's plan to fix its $30 million budget deficit.

Frodge says the JEA would like to see the district implement mandatory furlough days and modestly increase taxes.

"Utah already has the highest class size in the country, so for us to continually raise class size really continues to inhibit the ability of the teachers to run a quality program, which inhibits the schools to be attractive to the community patrons," Frodge said.

The Jordan School Board says nothing is set in stone at this point, and that their next step is to see what happens to the education budget during this legislative session.

Melinda Colton, spokeswoman for Jordan School District, says the board will take into consideration all the comments they heard last night, but also suggests that that parents and teachers take their frustrations to lawmakers as well.

"Take this passion and move it up to the Hill and let your voice be heard there. That would help our board more than anything, than just coming and picketing," Colton said.

A final decision about district layoff will not come until early April, after the legislative session has wrapped up and the final budget is presented.

Until that time, the district and the JEA encourages parents, teachers and members of the community to get involved.

The house education committee hearing takes place Wednesday afternoon, where a district equalization bill will be discussed.

E-mail: spark@ksl.com

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Shara Park

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