Pay Freeze Update
As you have probably seen, on Tuesday Diane Tavenner sent an email indicating that the pay freeze would be rolled back. This is an important win for all of us. It demonstrates that all of your activism this summer — from attending board meetings to signing petitions to reaching out to parents — had an impact. It also demonstrates that having a union increases transparency around budget and finances and ensures that teacher voice is included in important decisions.
Many of you have reached out with questions — will this include back pay? Is regular pay guaranteed for the rest of this year? We had the same questions and sent SPS management an email to clarify these important questions; we will keep you updated with their response.
Our union has never believed the pay freeze was necessary. As we have outlined before, the millions of dollars in COVID relief, high pay for the top employees in our organization, and a State budget with no budget cuts led us to conclude that Summit could have made different financial choices. Summit should never have cut teacher compensation, nor the compensation of lower-paid hourly staff. We also predicted the legislature would make further adjustments to funding this fall and allow schools to receive more funding for increased ADA; as Diane mentioned in her email, the recently passed budget trailer bill did just that.
Instead, Summit chose to start the summer by threatening to lay off over 20 of our colleagues. This ultimately forced us to agree to a pay freeze so our colleagues would not lose their jobs in the middle of a pandemic and so that our students could continue to have a robust Expeditions program. The pay freeze has significantly impacted our teachers; teachers moved back in with their parents, found second jobs, and made other important life decisions based on the freeze. Now, a month into the school year, Summit has announced the pay freeze is no longer necessary. The mental and emotional stress teachers were put under was unnecessary and does not indicate SPS values their teachers.
We will keep you updated on what we learn about the pay freeze rollback.
In the meantime, we know that your actions and activism have a real impact on our organization. Please sign our petition for a sustainable virtual school (if you are not one of the many teachers who has already done so) at tinyurl.com/SustainableVSPetition.
SPS Board Meeting September 14
The next SPS Board meeting will be from 3pm-4:30pm on Monday September 14. You can join via this link. The agenda for the Summit Public Schools board meeting was posted today at 3pm.
Agenda items listed include:
- Closed session discussion of our union negotiations
- “Recommended action to approve adjustments to staff compensation and benefits” (presumably the pay freeze rollback)
- A ten minute public hearing on the Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan (you can see the draft plan for each school here).
The supporting documents for the agenda should be posted here. As we said in our last update, it is disappointing but not surprising that Summit has scheduled this important meeting during a time that is inaccessible for teachers and working families. If you want to make a comment to the Board but can’t attend the meeting, you can email your comment to: CABoardofDirectors@summitps.org