Archives

State Receiver Essentially Nullifies Teachers Contract

By: Tom Duggan – July, 2012

Lawrence School Receiver Jeff Rileyq

Lawrence School Receiver Jeff Riley

 Lawrence Teachers Union President Frank McLaughin says that Receiver Jeff Riley has mandated a new contract for teachers in the now state run Lawrence School System.

In a confidential letter obtained by the Valley Patriot that McLaughlin sent to members of the now powerless union, McLaughin told teachers:

“We believe his [receiver Riley’s] unprecedented action not only violated the spirit of a law intended by the legislature to help Level 5 school districts but also ignores the community engagement process in which the Lawrence community and we participated. We will not sit by.”

Contract “negotiations” concluded on July 17th where Riley demanded new provisions in the teachers contract which McLaughlin tells teachers “requires your serious and immediate attention as it strips you of significant contractual rights and protections effective July 1, 2012.”

The Lawrence Teachers’ Union Executive Board met to discuss the implications of the newly forced contract and says that the board plans on trying to protect the “rights” of teachers.

“Under the provisions of the recently enacted Level 5 state legislation, LPS Receiver Jeff Riley was given enormous power. Included in this law was broad language giving him authority to change or void provisions in our contract determined by him to be impediments to recently announced Level 5 turnaround plan. Rather than collaborate with the Union and work cooperatively to professionally address the stakeholder recommendations, he has instead opted to unilaterally void large portions of your contract. This is extremely troubling because his actions do nothing to help schools, children and families of Lawrence.”

The union negotiation team will be meeting again with the Receiver Riley on Wednesday, August 1, 2012.

The Union is scheduled to meet again at 10:00 AM on August 2, 2012 at the Lawrence Firefighters Relief In, 1 Market Street, Lawrence, MA. McLaughlin says that representatives from the American Federation of Teachers will be in attendance to answer teachers’ questions and plan the union’s next steps to oppose the new contract.

School Committeeman Jen Cooper said that the point seems to be to squeeze the teachers to the point where they want to quit. The Receiver and Commissioner are planning to flood the district with “Teach for America” teachers.

Teach for America is a program where college graduates with degrees that may not be in education can have their college loans forgiven by volunteering to teach in the classroom in poor communities like Lawrence.

“They almost never get tenure because they never stay long enough to get tenure and we don’t have to pay them,” Cooper said. “Right now the entire 6th grade at the Leonard School is populated by Teach for America teachers. I specifically asked for data that shows this type of teacher and these programs work to improve test scores. I do not want them experimenting on my own kids. I want my own kids taught by certified experienced teachers, not volunteers.”

“I am really concerned about how we are going to increase test scores and improve education with teachers in the classrooms that really do not have the experience and dedication than the teachers who have decided to make this their career and have been working in the schools for decades,” Cooper said.

Sources at the Massachusetts Department of Education say that in order to pay for all the new programs that the receiver and commissioner want to implement in the schools, they have to cut costs because the state will not pay additional money for teaching staff to work the additional hours required in the extended day turnaround plan.

Teachers who spoke with the Valley Patriot said that they believe “this isn’t about having highly qualified teachers teaching our kids.”

“Its about having a person in the classroom that they don’t have to pay so they can save money. It’s not about education. Its’ about paying for all these feel good concepts that teach ‘the whole child’, and giving then everything in the schools that their families are not giving the at home, like free dental, nutrition, tutoring, more activities, obesity training and all that.”

Below is the new teachers contract as approved by Receiver Riley striking most of the contract provisions:

 

 

Tracking codes for changes to LTU Teacher’s contract language changes: 6/24/12

RED — New provisions effective July 1, 2012

PURPLE — Exceptions for L 4 schools

Article I -Recognition

Item A. The Lawrence School Committee (Appendix AI)

Inserted language on authority of the Receiver:

Pursuant to G.L. c. 69, § 1K, the Receiver for the Lawrence Public Schools is vested with all the powers of the superintendent and the school committee. Wherever a reference in a collective bargaining agreement is made to the “school committee” or the “superintendent,” it will be interpreted to mean the “Receiver.”

Item C. Management Rights Clause (Appendix A.I)

Inserted language on authority of the Receiver:

Nothing contained in the collective bargaining agreements shall be construed to limit the rights of the Receiver and/or the Commissioner as provided in G.L. c. 69, s. 1K.

Inserted language preserving the right for the Receiver to make additional changes (from Introduction, 2nd paragraph):

The Receiver reserves the right to make additional changes to collective bargaining agreements as needed.

Article II — Compensation

Item A. Salary Schedule (Appendix A.IV)

Keep the same for the SY 2012-2013

Inserted Language on new Performance-Based Compensation System (PBCS):

During the 2012-2013 school year, the Receiver will develop a new performance-based compensation system (PBCS), after discussion with the union, which will contain a career path and which will compensate employees based on individual effectiveness, professional growth, and student academic growth.

Inserted language on TIF implementation and Sontag prize winners effective for SY 2012-2013:

Subject to approval by the United States Department of Education, teachers and administrators would participate in the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant designed to reward teachers and administrators (on a school wide or group basis) if the school or group to which the teacher or administrator is assigned meets certain student performance targets set for the school or group by the Receiver. The criteria for the au ards would be communicated to all teachers and administrators at the start of each school year and would be anticipated to begin with the 20122013 school year. A teacher or administrator who receives an overall evaluation rating of “Unsatisfactory” or “Needs Improvement” would not be eligible for TIF awards. The awards would be distributed following the conclusion of the school year as a bonus which would be subject to taxes and/or withholdings, would not be added to the base salary and would not be counted towards salary for retirement calculation purposes.

Teachers, from within and outside of the Lawrence Public Schools, who are selected as Sontag Prize winners may also be eligible to serve in the vacation Acceleration Academies. Teachers serving in the vacation Acceleration Academies will be paid a $3000 bonus which will be subject to taxes and/or withholdings, will not be added to the base salary and will not be counted towardssalary for retirement calculation purposes.

Item BStep Advancement (Appendix A.IV)

Keep the same for the SY 2012-2013

Item C. Teachers doing substitute work (Appendix A.IV)

Keep the same for the SY 2012-2013

Item D. Differentials (Appendix A.IV)

Keep the same for the SY 2012-2013

Item F. Summer School — Hourly Rate of Pay (Appendix A.IV)

Keep the same for the SY 2012-2013

Item J. Career Increments (Appendix A.IV)

Keep the same for the SY 2012-2013

Item K. Increments for Advanced Credits (Appendix A.IV)

Keep the same for the SY 2012-2013

Item M. Work Before and/or After Regular School Year (Appendix A.V)

Keep the same for the SY 2012-2013

Article IV — Working Conditions

Inserted language on Collaboration prior to decision making (Appendix A.3):

Each principal will devise, in consultation with school staff; a collaborative process through which the principal will consult with school staff, receiving and considering their input and sharing his/her reasoning with them, prior to making decisions affecting staff, in areas such as: the establishment and selection criteria for teaching, classroom, administrative, professional and per session assignments; after school positions; staff schedules; the length and number of periods; school safety, implementation of discipline, behavior management plans and procedures; curriculum implementation; and professional development. School/district management retain the ultimate discretion to implement decisions as they determine in the best interest of achieving the goals of the Turnaround Plan.

Item B. Work Year (Appendix A.V)

Keep the same for the SY 2012-2013, except L 4 schools and Phoenix High School, and as approved or required by the Receiver.

Inserted new language on school schedules:

School Schedules

For the 2012-2013 school year, current daily school schedules will be continued except as approved or required by the Receiver. The Receiver may approve any school’s strong plan for expanding learning time for the school year 2012-2013, including plans for extended time for Level 4 schools as reflected in their School Redesign Grant applications.

Inserted new language requring1330 instructional hours for all schools for SY 2013-2014 – Set by the Principal after consultation with the staff at each school:Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, each school’s program shall be a minimum of 1330 hours per school year.

 Inserted language on planning process with the principal involving faculty, staff, parents, students, and members of the community:

During the 2012-2013 school year, each principal will engage in a planning process involving the faculty and staff, parents, students and members of the community to develop a new school schedule based on student needs and school and community assets. Each plan will address how learning time will support (1) high academic success, especially through personalized support and learning; (2) a well-rounded education that may include subjects not part of standardized testing; activities such as arts, music, drama, robotics and sports; and social emotional learning; and (3) expanded time for teachers to collaborate, use student data and develop their practice. Plans should be creative with regard to the use of adaptive software, staggered teacher schedules, acceleration academies, summer learning and enrichment programs, and outside partners. Each plan must address opportunities to incorporate community partners and resources and must include an appropriate and sustainable arrangement regarding teacher and staff responsibilities, hours and compensation. The principal will recommend the plan to the Receiver after consultation with the faculty and staff of the school. The Receiver may require the inclusion of any reasonable exceptions to these provisions and may require changes in any plan to best serve the interests of the students. Plans will be approved at the Receiver’s discretion.

Exempted Phoenix High School from terms of the agreement

Item C. Work Day (Appendix A.V)

Keep the same for the SY 2012-2013, except L 4 schools and Phoenix High School, and as approved or required by the Receiver

Inserted language on professional obligations:

Professional Obligations

 Teachers and other professional staff shall devote whatever time is required to achieve and maintain high quality education in the Lawrence Public Schools. For example, unless formally excused, teachers and other professional staff shall participate in all regular school functions during or outside of the normal school day, including faculty meetings, parent conferences, department meetings, curriculum meetings, graduations and other similar activities. Teachers will also be afforded regular preparatory time during their work week. Such preparatory time may include common planning periods and professional development.

Item C.3. Flexible school start time (Appendix A.V)

 Keep the same for the SY 2012-2013, except L 4 schools and Phoenix High School, and as approved or required by the Receiver

Item C.5. Building Meetings (Appendix A.V)

Deleted the provision requiring that meetings must start 8 minutes after school ends

 Item C.6. Innovative program (Appendix A.V)

 Deleted requirement to transfer teacher

Item C.7. ABE Work Year (Appendix A.V)

Keep the same for the SY 2012-2013

Item C. 10. Afternoon Meetings (Appendix A.V)

Deleted requirement to not schedule meetings when it conflicts with union meetings

Item D. Rotation of Duties (Appendix A.V)

Deleted requirement to rotate homerooms

Item H. Continuity of Teaching Process (Appendix A.VI)

Deleted requirement prohibiting classroom visits

Item I. School Calendar (Appendix A.V)

Deleted current provisions and inserted new language:

The Receiver will establish the school calendar each year. For the 2012-2013 school year, the calendar will provide for the school year to begin during the last full week of the month of August, a two-week winter break which will overlap the end/beginning of the calendar year, a one week break during the month of February, and a one week break during the month of April. The Receiver may approve an alternate calendar at the request of a school principal, if the principal and Receiver determine that the alternate calendar is in the best interests of the students in the school.

Item J. Teaching Programs (Appendix A.III)

Keep the same for the SY 2012-2013, except L 4 schools and Phoenix

Deleted current provisions.

Item Q. Professional Development (Appendix A.III)

Deleted section on professional development; Principal will collaborate on professional development with the staff

Item R. Tuition Reimbursement (Appendix

Deleted current provisions, covered under professional obligations

Redirect funds to professional development

Item T. Evaluation (Appendix A.VI)

Deleted current provisions and inserted new language:

Teachers and administrators shall be evaluated according to the Lawrence Public School District’s adaptation of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education model system.

Item V. Reduction in Force (Appendix A.V11)

Deleted current provisions and inserted new language:

The Receiver has the right to lay off teachers and other district staff due to reductions in force or reorganizations resulting from declining enrollment or other budgetary or operational reasons. The Receiver will establish the selection criteria for layoffs of teachers and other district staff. Such selection criteria may include, but are not limited to qualifications, licensure, work history,multiple measures of student learning, operational need and the best interests of the students. Where all other factors are equal, seniority may be used as the deciding factor.

The Receiver has the right to reassign teachers and other staff who have been displaced from their positions. After discussion with the affected teacher or staff member, the teacher or staff member may be assigned to any open position for which he or she is qualified. If the teacher or staff member is not assigned to a mutually agreeable position, the Receiver will assign the teacher orstaff member to a position for which he/she is qualified. Such an assignment may include instructional support, substitute teaching or administrative tasks.

Item V.3 Layoff Procedures (Appendix A.VII)

Deleted current provisions and inserted new language: (See Item IV.5):

The Receiver has the right to lay off teachers and other district staff due to reductions in force or reorganizations resulting from declining enrollment or other budgetary or operational reasons. The Receiver will establish the selection criteria for layoffs of teachers and other district staff. Such selection criteria may include, but are not limited to qualifications, licensure, work history,multiple measures of student learning, operational need and the best interests of the students. Where all other factors are equal, seniority may be used as the deciding factor.

The Receiver has the right to reassign teachers and other staff who have been displaced from their positions. After discussion with the affected teacher or staff member, the teacher or staff member may be assigned to any open position for which he or she is qualified. If the teacher or staff member is not assigned to a mutually agreeable position, the Receiver will assign the teacher orstaff member to a position for which he/she is qualified. Such an assignment may include instructional support, substitute teaching or administrative tasks.

Item 3.7-11 Recall list (Appendix A.VII)

Deleted current provisions.

Inserted New Item – Teacher Dismissal (Appendix A.VIII)

In schools declared underperforming or chronically underperforming, teachers with professional teacher status and all represented district staff who have completed their probationary period may be dismissed for good cause.

Article V — Transfers

Item A. Transfers and Building Assignments (Appendix A.VII)

Deleted current provisions and inserted new language:

In filling positions, principals have the authority to select the best qualified staff from both internal and external candidates without regard to seniority.

Item B. Promotions (Appendix A.VII)

Deleted current provisions

Item C. Other Openings (Appendix A.VII)

Deleted current provisions

Article IX — Special Services

Item A. Counselors (Appendix A. V)

Deleted current provisions

Item B. Libraries (Appendix A.III and A.V)

Deleted current provisions

Item C. Special Education (Appendix A.III and A.V)

Deleted current provisions

Item D. Special Teachers and Additional Services (Appendix A.III)

Deleted current provisions

Article X1T1 — Handling New Issues

Item B. (Appendix A.IX)

Deleted current provisions and inserted new language:

Any changes which the Receiver deems necessary to maximize the rapid improvement of the academic performance of Lawrence students may be implemented after a ten day period of consultation with the appropriate union. These changes may be implemented in the Receiver’s discretion, consistent with G.L. c. 69, s. 1K.

If you have a news tip or additional information about this story you can email us at valleypatriot@aol.com

(C) Copyright, Tom Duggan& Valley Patriot, Inc., 2012, All rights reserved

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan is president and publisher of The Valley Patriot Newspaper in North Andover Massachusetts, a former Lawrence School Committeeman, former political director for Mass. Citizens Alliance, a 1990 Police Survivor and hosts the Paying Attention! Radio Program on 980WCAP in Lowell, Massachusetts. You can email your comments to valleypatriot@aol.com.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookFlickrYouTube