Frank Calio's Blog (www.frankcalio.com)

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TEACHER CONTRACT TALKS STALL

A source tells me teachers at the Laurel School District are saying the administration is not making a sincere effort to negotiate a new contract and have taken steps in accordance to their contract.

Their current contract states teachers must report to work 15 minutes early and leave the school by 15 minutes after school lets out. So, the school is empty of teachers 15 minutes after adjournment, no teacher is staying over to do class preparation or speaking to any students who may have questions.

Teachers have said morale is at an all-time low; certainly this incident is not helping.

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23 thoughts on “TEACHER CONTRACT TALKS STALL

  1. Francis Lee on said:

    the letter to the editor today in the Star from Ewald for the most part seemed reasonable but I do realize this is just one side of the discussion. My only additions would be to the extra hours outside of school teachers do work. What profession doesn’t involve work after hours for no additional compensation, if you indeed want to excel at your profession? Likewise, a 2% raise in years 3 and 4; I’m sure where there’s a will there’s a way to make this happen for them.

  2. when the decision as to how money is spent one would think that it would be on things directly benefiting the kids. with that in mind, i don’t understand how anyone coming into the district at this time would be hired receiving a higher salary than their predecessor. it just seems wrong.

    • Nursing is another field that does that as well.

      • frank, if these times are bad enough that teachers can’t get classroom supplies or a 2% raise they have waited 2 or 3 years for, then how is it right for more than one administrator hired during that time to get more money than the persons who had that job before them? isn’t the value of any school system placed on the job done for the children? teachers must feel totally disrespected and of little value to the district or parents.

  3. Good question, but I have found people associated with administrations, whether it be in education, education, or the private sector always think they must pay top dollar to bring in the best. Unfortunately none of the above believe the ‘troops’ deserve their fair share as well.

    • i’m not sure what criteria was used to establish the ‘best’. but you would think if the superintendent of any school requires more money for an already high-paying job, then why is it so hard for people to realize that, with good teachers and students leaving, maybe some money needs to go for them, and if any is left, let it trickle up

  4. Support the “front line” worker …how many of us remember that “special” teacher that gave us so much, whenever, wherever? Now remember your administration? Bet not!!! Stay strong teachers, para-professionals, secretarial staff, maintenance workers and my personal favorites…cafeteria staff!!! Strength is in numbers…know that you have a lot of community support!

  5. Yu don’t have to have common sense to be an administrator.

  6. Looking at the finished product that’s coming out of schools now a days, some teachers should be lucky they are able to have a job.

    • that sounds like an indictment, blaming the ‘finished product’ solely on teachers. i hope i’m wrong because that would be a very narrow-minded opinion from someone who has inadequate knowledge of what the profession involves.

    • wendy dolby on said:

      Parents are necessary in the triangle of Learning. So many parents are busy making a living and unable or not able to support their children as needed in today’s world when it comes to educating them. So many children have no home support which is sad. Teachers and parents need to work together to educate our children.

  7. Francis Lee on said:

    I think the 2% raise the teachers are requesting is a reasonable request. Just like I think the teachers spending more class time with the students, which admin is requesting, is also reasonable. What am I missing as to why the two sides can’t get this resolved?

  8. The educational system is flawed just like every other system in this country. It’s the school and the parents responsibility to mentor motivate, and have these young people educated and ready for the next level of learning either college, or going on and starting a career.

  9. Posted to the Laurel Education Association’s facebook page last night:

    “It is no secret that the Laurel School District has been in the “process of attempting to recover from a financial crisis.” The District has severely cut teachers, counselors, librarians, and other necessary staff, eliminated and reduced programs, such as Horticultural, Business, Elementary Reading Intervention, and Art, and scarcely provided supplies for the classrooms for a few years now. In an attempt to “impose financial discipline,” the Laurel Board of Education has permitted the district to overcrowd our classrooms, under-staff our school buildings, and weaken our programming- none of which provides “efficient, effective education services to the students.”

    It is important to note that the “financial crisis” this district faces is in no way the result of the teachers in this District, nor their contract; however, it is the result of years of mismanagement and lack of oversight on the part of the Leadership in the Laurel School District. The teachers’ contract is in no way to blame for the” financial crisis” and most certainly is not the answer to it. The negotiation process is historically a means for district administrators, board members, and teachers to work together to ensure high quality education and services to our students, their families, and our community. Therefore, contract negotiations have nothing to do with recovering from a “financial crisis,” but everything to do with working together to provide the conditions for exceptional teaching and learning.

    Simply stated, the teachers of the Laurel School District are not insensitive to the financial distress our District faces. Last year, the teachers voluntarily gave up tuition reimbursement- in good faith- in order to help the District begin to recover–a savings of over $70,000. Upon forfeiting this benefit, we inquired as to how that money was used to help the financial crisis and all requests were denied ; how the money was spent remains unknown. Currently, our proposed contract includes a $35,000 cap in tuition reimbursement district wide, a 50% savings from past spending. As educators, we believe in the pursuit of life-long learning so as to be better equipped and highly qualified to teach Laurel’s children.

    We have been and are aware that the District cannot afford salary increases. Because of this, our proposed contract does not ask for salary adjustments for two years and agrees to no salary increase for all extra-duty positions, such as coaches, department chairs, band director, and club/class advisors. This is a demonstration of “financial discipline” on the part of the teachers. And yet, this year, the Laurel Board of Education agreed to increase administrative salaries in excess of $20,000 in order to woe staff from outside the District, consequently circumventing long serving, qualified, Laurel employees who desired to serve in these very positions. Moreover, our Superintendent, hired to address this exact “financial crisis,” requested and received $20,000 above the previous Superintendent’s salary. (Worth noting, the previous Superintendent held a Doctorate Degree as well as previous Superintendent experience.) The Board’s decision to increase administrative salaries falls short of “imposing financial discipline.” The idea of “financial discipline” seems to conveniently apply to teacher contract only.

    The Laurel teachers’ contract, despite the District’s claim, is not abnormal. However, the District’s decision to pay their attorney $41,000 last fiscal year and over $17,000 in a single month this year, during this “financial crisis,” is unprecedented. The attorney’s services, intended to bring Laurel’s teacher contract “into the mainstream,” is unfounded, as is the claim that the current “work rules” for teachers are “costly and adversely impact students.” The modification that the District is proposing does not solve the “financial crisis,” nor ensure quality instruction for students. Each year, teachers across the district, in every building, sign addendums to work beyond the 5 contractual hours and to teach beyond the three hours or 4 periods. In many situations, entire school faculties agree to do so. Such modifications require only conversations between educators and administrators, as teachers continually make sacrifices with the students’ best interests in mind. In return, we merely ask for profession respect. The restricted “number of courses…available to high school students, increase[d] class size and reduce[d] teaching time with students” are a result of cuts in staffing and elimination of programs, not the number of teaching hours. The void in students’ educational experiences that these decisions have created cannot be placed upon the backs of Laurel’s teachers.

    Laurel’s teachers have and will continue to offer ways to assistant the district in its journey to financial recovery. Yet, we refuse to be labeled the cause of the “financial crisis” nor the answer to it. Nevertheless, it is evident that “fiscal discipline” needs to apply to all district decisions and practices, not merely teachers, their contract, and their daily duties. Nor can “fiscal discipline” supersede sound educational decisions for our students. The negotiation of the teacher contract is being portrayed as a cause of and the answer to the financial crisis. However this is simply not the case.

    Concerned Teachers
    Of the Laurel Senior High School LEA”

    • Thanks for the post Sandy.

    • Excellent…very well written factual and caring post.
      Thank you.

    • Wow. Terrific letter, Sandy. I have a friendly suggestion. The board was elected by the community to lead and to create district policy. Having said that, it seems to me to have been a very poor idea to have administrators negotiate as proxies for the Board of Education. It may very well be time, right now, for the board to replace the current negotiating team…with themselves. The board is hampered by having everything they hear about teachers filtered by this very self-centered and selfish administration. Board members cannot possibly be getting an accurate picture of what teachers think or feel or want them to know about the state of the district while the administration is distorting everything that the teacher team says. Laurel School Board, please do your job.

      • I agree, it is a terrific piece. I just want to be clear that these are not my words.
        This was posted by the LEA to their facebook page. I copied it to Mr. Calio’s blog hoping to give it as much exposure as possible. My apologies if I wasn’t clear enough regarding the source.

        It is my opinion that the Board is fully aware of what is happening, and by their votes, they are allowing it to happen. Many rumors why this is the case, but the bottom line is that they are letting the teachers, the students and the community down with their decisions. A little transparency could go a long way right now. …Maybe. I don’t know that there could possibly be any legitimate expectation that the Board’s votes truly benefit the kids.

  10. Francis Lee on said:

    What leave are “those granted by State Statute”? I can’t believe the district wants to bar teachers from attending their own children’s school functions, conferences, programs, honor-roll celebrations and other school functions deemed as “social affairs”. There must have been some miscommunication somewhere along the lines. AT least I hope that’s the case.

  11. I know the board has family that works in the district; isn’t the president’s son a teacher? They also have friends, neighbors, etc that work there. So I can’t believe for one second the district is saying the teachers can’t have off to attend their child’s functions, appointments, etc. from time to time, same as most other jobs. The board aren’t heartless monsters. This sounds like a negotiation tactic. Likewise I can’t believe the board can’t find the small raise the union is asking for. Sounds like a tactic from their end as well.

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