Today we had our 23rd bargaining session with Summit. Summit’s team presented a document with all of their proposals, which you can view here. They made movement on the below three proposals.
Summit’s most recent proposal aligned with our proposal for class sizes in most areas. Core content courses: 27 students. Electives, Expeditions, and others: 29 students. Educational specialist caseloads: 27 students. The only area we are not aligned is for mentor group size. We will continue to negotiate to reach an acceptable number for our unit members.
Summit’s compensation and benefits proposal added a 1.08% increase for the second school year (the 2022-23 school year). Additionally they have added commuter benefits and full coverage of life and disability insurance. SPS continues to push for teachers to receive raises based on performance but we will continue to push back on this practice which has been shown not to work. We also believe this goes against our collective philosophy that teachers always need to be improving.
Summit continues to propose extending the work year to 212 days, up from the current 196 days with no additional pay (an 8% increase in days!). This would take us all the way to the end of June (students would end earlier). Summit’s reasoning was that teachers work over the summer regardless — with planning, meetings, etc. — so they would like to formalize it. We are holding firm that the increase is not acceptable and will lead to increased turnover and burnout. We will continue to fight to maintain the current calendar obligations
Today, we presented our proposal on Evaluation including a more specific outline of the coaching/assessment process. Our proposal discusses a collaborative goal setting process between the unit member and their coach that informs a unit member’s observation and feedback process. This proposal included a clear and transparent tier system that requires several levels of teacher observations, coaching supports, and process documentation between the coach and unit member.
Discipline and dismissal
We also presented a proposal on teacher discipline and dismissal. Unite Summit is advocating for transparent, clear, and progressive discipline to provide due process to our members. SPS wants “flexible discipline” which we do not believe is transparent, clear, or equitable. We remain hopeful of a movement towards a compromise with steps that include investigation and timely action for the safety of staff and students.
Assignment, Transfer, and Re-Assignment
Our goal is for teachers to be assigned a course which aligns with their professional goals and skills, and have time to prepare for their course before the school year starts so that teachers are prepared for students. We have proposed that there is a consistent process every April for teachers within each content area (English, Math, Sciences, Social Sciences, Expeditions/Electives) to agree on course assignments for the following year. EDs would have the final decision. Summit seemed to believe that this would limit the ability of EDs to change a teacher’s course assignment over the summer, and we’re waiting to hear back about what timeline and process for course assignments they believe are reasonable given that if a teacher likes their assignment and has time to prepare, they can teach better.
This week, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) dismissed part of Summit’s Unfair Practice Complaint (UPC) that was filed against our union in August of last year. The PERB attorney found that our union has the right to communicate with our charter authorizers about Summit’s actions. This is an important decision and acknowledges that our union has free speech rights and that we can communicate with our democratically elected officials. Unfortunately, the PERB attorney did allow part of Summit’s UPC to move forward – this included allegations that our team bargained in bad faith by caucusing excessively, among other things. We are confident that we have followed the law and bargained in good faith and that Summit does not have sufficient evidence for these allegations. As we stated when the UPC was first filed, we believe the UPC is unfounded and suspect Summit filed it in an attempt to distract us from their own possible violations of the law. We will keep you updated as this issue moves through the legal process.