What will we continue to advocate for in our contract?
Unite Summit was organized and approved by the teachers of Summit Public Schools to address major issues facing our staff and students alike. We believe in our schools and are advocating to improve upon current systems because we want what is best for our students and families. While we have come to agreement in six areas (or “articles”), there are vital differences in our positions on 19 other articles.
Some major highlights of what we are continuing to advocate for in the CBA:
- Job Security – We believe that after an initial phase teachers need reasonable job security to continue to grow, experiment, and contribute to school communities. We want Summit to recognize the dedication of teachers who have stayed and value their contributions as experienced educators.
- Work year (196 days) – SPS continues to advocate for an additional 16 days of work to the teacher work calendar (to a total of 212) when Summit teachers already work additional days when compared to other schools. We firmly believe this will hurt teacher morale and desirability of SPS to new hires.
- Support services for ELLs, students with disabilities, and mental health – SPS refuses to respond to our requests for increased supports for our English language learners, students with disabilities, and mental health. We believe that SPS is neglecting these mandatory obligations to our students. With millions of new dollars coming in from the federal and state governments, much of it specifically earmarked to provide greater support for students as we recover from the pandemic, we know that Summit can afford to invest in these vital services.
- Class size caps and compensation for large class sizes – We believe that teachers need class size and mentor group caps to be effective teachers, especially with the skills-based project-based-learning approach integral to the Summit model. Summit’s proposal has voluntary caps, which can’t actually be enforced.
- Shared governance – We are advocating for increased teacher voice in making decisions in order to create better, personalized school decisions for PD, school schedules, and other school-based decisions. We believe that each school site has different needs and the one-size-fits-all model goes against the founding principles of Summit’s individualized learning model.
- Fair performance evaluation – We believe that teachers need clear parameters of performance evaluation to know whether they are or are not meeting the criteria to be a Summit teacher with opportunities and documentation to receive feedback and improve.
- Discipline with due process – The lack of clarity in Summit’s proposed disciplinary procedures allows too much latitude for discriminatory and unfair treatment.
- Non merit-based pay – Within their evaluation article, SPS is proposing that teachers needing the highest level of support in their teaching practice do NOT move up the salary schedule if they are being brought back the next year. Merit-based pay has been proven to not work and opens the door to discriminatory and biased practices. We vehemently reject this proposal.
- Cost of living based compensation – Summit’s proposal of a 1.08% increase in pay for the next school year along with no increases in SY23 and SY24 is far below the standard increases in cost of living due to inflation and is counter to Summit’s current practice.
- Layoff procedure – We are advocating for greater specificity in who and how SPS will conduct layoffs and what rights teachers have to return to their positions. Coming out of the Rainier closing, we are committed to protecting teachers with clear and equitable systems for layoffs.
- Health and Safety – We want all Summit schools to be sanctuary schools in order to protect the basic safety of our staff, students, and community. This is critical for any organization advocating anti-racism.
- Facilities – SPS continues to ignore our calls for gender neutral facilities to protect our gender non-conforming students and staff.
- Management Rights – SPS wants the ability to suspend our contract for up to 90 days if there is an emergency. As an example, if this provision was in place, parts of our contract could potentially have been suspended for three months when the COVID-19 pandemic began.
- Union Rights – SPS does not want to give our Union time to meet with members without Admin presence and wants to limit access to Union training and organizing.
- Effect of Agreement – Summit wants to limit our ability to bargain over anything not specifically listed in our contract.
Here are the articles that we have made tentative agreements on (a “tentative agreement” is an article that we have agreed to, but isn’t final until our members vote to approve the whole contract).
Negotiation Procedure; Assignment and Transfer; Assignability; Organizational Security; Savings and Modifications; Technology, Resources, and Curriculum