Weeks of meetings between Cleveland Teachers Union (CTU) President David Quolke, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and Democratic Mayor Frank Jackson have resulted in a compromise over the controversial Cleveland Plan. The original plan, unveiled in February, was deliberately written behind closed doors and did not include input from CTU.
Ohio’s governor “begged” the State Board of Education in March for their endorsement of Jackson’s plan. In April, the Board refused to endorse Jackson’s plan, passing a resolution that called for any further work on the plan to include a “collaborative, bi-partisan process that involves all relevant stakeholders.”
The recent compromise effectively removes one of the most controversial aspects of Jackson’s original plan—the “fresh start” contract provision. It would have allowed CMSD to throw away the teachers’ existing contract and start negotiations for a new contract from scratch. If no agreement was reached, CMSD would have been able to force a temporary contract on the teachers.
Other aspects of the plan that were changed in the recent compromise include:
* Changing layoff procedures so that if two teachers have equal evaluation results and contract types, seniority can be used as a tiebreaker.
* Eliminating CMSD’s ability to lay off teachers due to their school’s declining enrollment instead of district enrollment.
* Preventing CMSD from being able to fire teachers who work at persistently low-performing schools.
* Mandating that the new salary schedule to be developed must be bargained between CMSD and CTU, thereby preventing CMSD from unilaterally imposing a new salary schedule.
* Guaranteeing teachers additional compensation working at a school where CMSD lengthens their work day or work year.
* Protecting the agreements that CMSD and CTU have already reached regarding their work on the Teacher Development and Evaluation System.
CTU President David Quolke called the agreement “far from perfect,” noting that there was no compromise reached on the plan’s provision allowing CMSD to share levy funds with high-performing charter schools. “We have agreed to disagree,” he said.
Quolke said the revised plan now has the support of CTU because it “holds the promise of helping students in Cleveland succeed, and it protects the voice teachers have in building a quality education system.” Additionally, the majority of the plan will not take effect until the expiration of CTU’s current contract in June of 2013.
A substitute bill with the changes from this agreement will be introduced into the General Assembly in late April.
CEA thanks our members for contacting their legislators and urging them to oppose the original plan. However, legislators could amend the bill to incorporate previously removed plan provisions or include new ones, so we must stay vigilant and continue to put pressure on our legislators.Stay tuned to The CEA Voice for updates.