BTU opened the session on a hopeful note believing that the remainder of the non-economic issues could be closed out so that the next session could open the economic package. Unfortunately, the District was not prepared to close out a number of items. BTU remains hopeful for completing the items at the next session providing the District does their homework.
The following were discussed and tentative agreement reached:
Changes made were cleaning up language and titles. Discussion followed regarding the intent of the language regarding compensation for attending a second "back to school night." The District will clarify the language.
Under the listing of "options," the 4x4 A/B Block Schedule was added, with the specification that the number of periods and preparation/planning will be determined prior to the vote.
Language was deleted requiring approval by the principal for BTU representatives to transact union business on school property.
Language was also deleted requiring approval by the principal for BTU representatives to visit schools to investigate teaching conditions, complaints, etc. Prior notification is required, but the principal approval is no longer required.
The following were proposed by the union as additions to the contract, but rejected by the District and will need further negotiations:
This would require that the room capacity as set by state regulations and local fire marshals be posted in each classroom
This would require the district to provide reports to BTU and other groups of health and safety issues including code violations, injury incident reports, building health, mold and mildew complaints, police reports, and more.
The following was previously proposed by BTU and discussed, The District stated they were not ready with agreement/counter proposals.
BTU is seeking to eliminate all non-professional supervisory and clerical duties for teachers.
BTU is seeking to keep faculty meetings from impacting planning time.
BTU is seeking a reduction in the amount of planning time taken away from teachers for meetings/conferences and the number of preps for middle and high.
BTU is seeking limitations on caseload for SLPs, school social workers, school counselors and psychologists. In addition, limitations are proposed on teaching responsibilities for secondary media specialists and counselors.
The following was previously proposed by the District and discussed. BTU was ready with agreement/counter proposals but postponed discussion since the district was not prepared to discuss above BTU items.
The District proposed that Elementary teachers submit final grades two days prior to the end of the school year
The District proposed a change that would require an employee returning early to ask the superintendent instead of informing the superintendent.
Proposed changed focus on number of sick leave bank days that may be used before disability payments begin.
The District would like the definition of reassignment to include "at an employee's currently assigned work location."
The following was proposed by District and discussed but no agreement signed:
The District backed off of their previous proposal that would have impacted Super Seniority priority for summer school opportunities. In their revised offer, 1/3 of open positions would go to stewards with Super Seniority, with the other 2/3 open to the rest of the bargaining unit.
The following were proposed by the District, but now put on hold so that the District's new legal counsel can have more time to research them
District would like this removed from the contract since PSC's do not now exist.
Discussion focuses on the number of examinations and who selects the physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist.
All deal with placement of students on IEP's
The following was previously "TAed" but may be reopened.
BTU would like it to be specified that teachers not needing points may opt out of PD that is not needed for job performance.
The next session will be held at BTU on March 27 at 2:00 PM All members of the bargaining unit are invited to attend. BTU is hopeful that non-economic items will be finalized at this meeting.
March 29 10:00 am TBA
April 3 9:00 am @ BTU
BTU opened the session by reviewing the following previous actions with the District:
the list of items that had received temporary agreement, and 2) The list of articles that still remain open.
Both sides agreed to this. BTU requested that the open items be addressed ASAP to continue to move forward.
The following was discussed and tentative agreement was reached:
Recognizing that not all textbooks are in hard copy, it was agreed that a hard copy of the teacher's edition would be provided if available. In the portion stating if storage space was an issue, teachers would be provided with an alternative as agreed upon in writing.
The current allocation of 27 hours per year of the total time available for professional development is reduced to 24 hours.
The paragraph related to District Personnel visiting a class was replaced with: "Observations for evaluation purposes shall be governed by the provisions of Article 18 of this agreement. Observations for other purposes shall occur only after the employee has been notified in advance by the principal." (Note: This "TA" is contingent upon completion of Article 18).
Teachers with less than 3 years of experience may be required to submit lesson plans to the principal on a regular basis with two work days' notice before the schedule starts.
Teachers with more than 3 years of experience shall not be required to submit lesson plans to the principal on a regular basis. However, any time the principal does request lesson plans it is with two work days' notice.
The words "All lesson plans may be submitted in hard or electronic form" have been added.
If the employee does not receive a substitute job number when contacting Sub Central, the employee shall notify their school's sub coordinator prior to the start of the employee work day.
Article deleted from contract since the Professional Development Network no longer exists.
Article deleted from contract since the Advanced Degree Stipend Committee no longer exists.
Name changed to Labor Management Committee.
The following articles were discussed and are still open:
The next session will be held at the Pompano Beach HS Admin Center - OSPA (610 NE 13 Ave Pompano Beach) on March 20 at 1:00 PM. All members of the bargaining unit are invited to attend.
March 27 2:00 pm @ BTU
March 29 10:00 am @ TBA
April 3 9:00 am @ BTU
03.10.2016 The District presented a number of articles for tentative agreement that had been "cleaned up" by a joint effort of members on the District's and BTU's negotiations team. All will result in updated language to reflect name changes of departments and positions.
The following were tentatively agreed to:
The following was discussed and tentative agreement was reached:
The District asked to eliminate this since Transportation controls starting times of schools.
The following were discussed and are still open (no agreement reached):
BTU rejected the District's previous proposal which would require the employee to notify the District in addition to contacting Sub Central if their absence was called in after midnight. The District asked if BTU has any suggestions. BTU has issues with the teacher having to make multiple notifications, that it places an undue burden on the teacher when a system is in place. BTU does not believe District's proposed additions are needed.
BTU previously rejected District's proposal that would alter the current policy of Steward Super seniority priority for summer school. This proposal stated that would result in only one Steward at the school where summer school is held being offered summer school, but stewards at other schools would not be guaranteed a summer position. BTU wants eligibility to be available to all designated stewards. The District brought it up again and stated that with the reduction in summer school locations there are too many stewards and therefore not fair to other individuals. When BTU asked how many stewards taught summer school in 2016, the District responded that out of approximately 700 positions, only 54 were stewards were hired.
District would like Elementary teachers for the last marking period only to submit grades 2 days prior to the end of term.
District proposed removal of this since none of this processes and programs described in article exist any more.
District wants to Add 4x4 AB Block Scheduling as a listed scheduling option instead of it requiring a waiver.
District wants to require employees who wish to return to work from prior to leave ending receive approval from the superintendent. Currently it only requires notification of from the employee.
District offered language to change definition of reassignment to include a change in grade level at the current location.
District was concerned that current statute may be conflict with state statute and would like to revise.
District proposed change in number of days that may be withdrawn relative to disability provisions.
BTU asked the District when we will be able to have serious talks about significant differences (beyond name changes) in
The District promised this would take place at the next meeting.
Next session: Negotiations will resume Wednesday, March 15 @ 10:00 AM @ BTU. All members of the bargaining unit are invited attend.
03.02. 17 The District began the meeting declaring that they came to the table to reach agreements with the teachers and that this round of bargaining is the start of trying to rebuild the relationship with the union. They realize that we will not be 100% in agreement with everything, but the hope both management and the employees will consider a fair contract on both sides.
A number of "open articles" were "TA-ed", meaning that BTU and the District reached "Tentative Agreement". This is a good sign as this progress moves the process closer to the economic discussions.
The following items were "TA-ed" after language was clarified, old titles of personnel deleted, and new ones added:
Agreement was also reached on:
- The District specified that "Duty Free Lunch means Duty Free Lunch". Teachers may not be asked to complete any other duties including taking students to and from the cafeteria during that 30 minutes.
- There will be five days days of pre-planning at the beginning of the school year.
Discussion continued, but no agreement was reached on the following:
There was discussion regarding hard-copy vs electronic versions of teacher textbooks. In addition BTU is insisting on the need for providing lockable space to teachers. The District is still looking at this section.
The two sides are close in the discussion of the number of days during the five pre-planning that will be reserved strictly for teacher planning. Agreement will likely occur at the next session.
The two sides have differences in the allocation of hours dedicated for Professional Development activities during the school year. BTU feels the current number of 27 is excessive. The District cited statistics about credits earned and the value of the workshops to teachers. President Anna Fusco gave examples of teacher-driven vs. administrative-driven PLC/workshops and inquired if there a standard of how many in-service points can be earned for PLCs? The District answered that it depends on the school. President Fusco then gave examples that there are many ways teachers can earn in-service points and that they need authentic planning time to work on improving their students' scores. The district agreed to consider a compromise on this article.
Discussion with Board Members
BTU asked for clarification regarding the legality of conversation with School Board Members related to negotiations. The District agreed that it is not illegal to do so, but the District's legal counsel, Doug Griffin, stated that they have encouraged board members to refrain from doing so.
The schedule was established for the next four meetings:
- Friday, March 10, TBA 1PM
- Wednesday, March 15, BTU 10 AM
- Monday, March 20, TBA 10 AM
- Monday, March 27, BTU 2 PM
2/24/17: The BTU-EP negotiation team met with the school district on February 24, 2017 at 10 am at the BTU office. At this session, the district did not submit any counterproposals and spent a majority of the time discussing BTU-EP proposals addressing employment practices and general conditions of employment. The parties did agree to several minor name changes and clean-up language for various articles.
BTU-EP will be submitting its economic proposals in the near future in solidarity with the other BTU negotiating units.
The district has agreed that all teachers are entitled to a 30-minute duty free lunch during which employees will not be required to deliver or pick up their students, have conferences, answer emails, attend meetings, ins-service or professional development courses or other duties.
The district has agreed that faculty meetings will be scheduled in a manner that does not impact teacher planning.
The district and BTU have not agreed on the number of pre-planning days that will be held without the scheduling of any other activities or meetings. BTU has proposed that three of five preplanning days be devoted strictly to teacher planning without any scheduled activities, while the district is asking that only two of the five days be for uninterrupted teacher planning.
The district has agreed that a teacher may opt out of all or part of the 27 hours of the total time available for professional development each year.
The district has agreed that employees will receive a minimum of two days' notice from the principal when district personnel plan to visit their class for observation.
BTU and the district have not yet agreed on how many days' notice is required for requesting submission of lesson plans. BTU would like teachers to receive 10 days' notice while the district is asking for two days' notice.
With the district citing the difficulty of finding substitutes with experience in such specialties as speech-language pathology, ESE or social work, BTU asked the district that employees be compensated when their workload increases due to the absence of another employee. The district said it would come to the table at a later date with their compensation proposal.
The district is still discussing BTU's proposal that any employee who is required to attend more than one back-to-school night be paid for three hours at their hourly rate.
Next session: The next BTU-EP negotiating session is scheduled for Thursday, March 2 at 9 a.m. at Fort Lauderdale High School. All members are invited to attend.
2/13/17: This negotiation session was the district’s opportunity to begin bringing forth proposals and responding to BTU’s proposals. Many of the district’s proposals dealt with updating language to reflect current department names and job titles.
The district did conceptually agree in whole or in part with previously submitted BTU language in some articles, but also offered changes to several BTU proposals:
The district countered BTU’s proposal to have five, not four of the 10 planning days occur at the beginning of the school year, and proposed that no other activities except teacher planning take place on two of the five days. In the event a staff meeting is needed on one of those two days, it may not exceed one hour. President Anna Fusco said BTU would not agree with that and will offer make a counterproposal.
The district questioned BTU’s proposal that teachers be given 10 days to propose their lesson plans, stating that it seemed like an excessive amount of time. BTU gave examples of why some teachers may need 10 days to provide their lesson plans and also pointed out that while some principals demand that plans be printed out and on their desk rather than on the computer, teachers sometimes do not have access to printer paper or a printer to be able to print out their lesson plans. The district stated it may be able to work with the language in this article.
BTU said it does not agree with and rejects the district’s request that language be added to the contract requiring teachers to notify the designated school site administrator of an intended absence at least one hour before the start of the regular workday in addition to notifying the sub locator system if the employee notified the sub locator system after midnight on the day of an absence.
BTU said it does not agree with and rejects the district’s desire to replace section 4, Steward Super-Seniority with language offering one union steward of a school hosting summer school the right to be granted super-seniority as determined by BTU and be given priority consideration at the summer site at their own school. Stewards at sites not hosting summer school would be placed in the regular summer school pool. The district explained the logic behind the change is to open the opportunity to more teachers and to first employ summer school teachers with a Highly Effective rating before opening positions to teachers rated Effective, a move BTU President Anna Fusco said pits teachers against one another.
The district proposed adding language to the section requiring elementary school teachers to submit end of year grades two days prior to the last student attendance day. No other changes were made to the section. BTU will be countering with language that will assure teachers will ample time to get the grades done.
To allow adequate processing time for leave requests, the district proposed adding language that an employee may request a return to active employment before the expiration of a leave subject to the approval of the superintendent, and that if approved, the district shall place the employee in a vacant position within their choice of certification and geographic area, as the contract currently states. There would be no change to the contract provision that if the employee rejects the position offered by the district, s/he may not return to work until the leave expires.
02/24, 10 a.m. @ BTU
03/02, 9 a.m. @ Fort Lauderdale High School
1/23/17: BTU negotiations team keeps up pressure on district to restore teaching and planning time
In attendance for BTU: Melanie Birken, Laura Clark, Anna Fusco (BTU president/co-chief negotiator), Jim Gard, Nympha Girard, Doug Green, Richard Judd, Joan King, Hall Krantz, Mark Richard (chief negotiator), Robin Rothman, Henry Sergey, Lisa Yurkin, Andy Ford. Not present: Nathalie Lynch-Walsh, Libby Navarrete (counsel).
In attendance for the district: Melinda Cunningham, principal; Dorothy Davis, chief negotiator; Oleg Gorokhovsky, budget director; Doug Griffin, SBBC counsel; Horace Hamm, principal; James Hayes, co-chief negotiator; Jennifer Hodder, department secretary; Heather Parente, director of employee evaluations; Priscilla Ribeiro, principal; Susan Rockleman, director, talent and acquisition, instructional; Alan Strauss, HS dcadre leader. Not present: Diego DeRose, employee evaluations; Michael Gleason, principal.
Both sides returned to the bargaining table on Monday, January 23 for a robust discussion of Article 5, Conditions of Employment, sections A, B, D G, J, K and L.
BTU argued that the extra duties forced on teachers at all levels—such as lunch duty, playground supervision, walking students to and from specials, the bus or lunch-- are severely impacting teachers' planning and teaching time.
BTU strongly questioned whether the district is adhering to Article A of the contract, which states "every effort shall be made to relieve employees of all non-professional supervisory and clerical responsibilities," which in addition to the above could include money collection or transmittal. The district said that relieving teachers of escorting students to and from classes or the bus, for example, could cause a safety issue, since schools do not have adequate personnel to take on those duties.
BTU countered that PLCs, team meetings, collaborative planning and other items being mandated by principals can all be taken away without impacting student safety. The district promised to examine what and how responsibilities could be trimmed without causing any negative impact to students.
The district questioned BTU's request to alter section B of Article 5, Materials and Storage. At the last bargaining session, BTU's team asked that teachers be provided with hard copies of all textbooks they use, per current contract language. The district pointed out that in some cases the textbook is only produced in e-book format and no hard copy exists. As for our request that per contract language, educators and itinerant workers such as social workers and speech language pathologists be provided with a lockable space to secure valuables, the district said it would be willing to ensure that such space does exist at every work site.
Section D, Duty-Free Lunches, was also brought up by BTU, with the district agreeing that educators are entitled to a duty-free lunch as long as it begins after the teacher drops their students off at the cafeteria.
BTU reminded the district of the language in Article 5, Section K, Faculty Meetings, emphasizing that faculty meetings should impact teacher planning time as little as possible. However, the district pointed out that sometimes faculty meetings will impact planning time, as it isn't always possible to hold meetings only on teacher planning days or between the limited time teachers report to work and school begins. The district requested to leave the article open so they can amend contract language to satisfy what BTU is requesting.
The district also responded to BTU's proposal to reduce the amount of professional development time educators use during the year, which BTU has proposed be reduced from 27 to 10 hours (Teacher Planning Days, section L, number 3). The district said that It believes that educators are using the 27 hours for recertification courses. BTU asked the district to provide data to prove that and said it believes that professional development hours should be more self-directed and flexible.
The district requested to leave two sections open for further discussion: O, Interruptions to Teaching; and S, Lesson Plans.
BTU gave the district its proposed language changes to section D of article 29, asking that the contract be amended so as not to require advance permission from the principal for a BTU employee to transact official union business on school property so long as it does not interfere with or disrupt normal school operations. The district will take it under advisement and report its decision at the next negotiations session.
BTU presented the district with several language changes to section A 5, allowing employees who are asked to submit to a physical or psychological evaluation after employment to seek a second opinion at his or her expense and a third opinion, at the district's expense, should the two opinions be contradictory. BTU also asked that employees continue to be paid throughout the examination process.
BTU also proposed language changes to section C, Substitutes, to include school social workers, school guidance counselors, speech-language pathologists, school psychologists, media specialists and ESE specialists as employees eligible to have a substitute appointed if s/he will be absent for at least 20 consecutive work days.
In section L, Back to School Night/Open House, BTU has proposed to the district that all employees who must attend any more than one such event be compensated for three hours at their hourly rate; and proposed deleting language that high schools on a 4 x 4 block schedule may plan a second back to school night.
- 1/30: both sides to caucus separately
- 2/13: 1:30 p.m. at BTU
- 2/24: 10 a.m. at BTU
- 3/2: 9 a.m. at location TBD
01.09.2017 First negotiations session highlights upgrading working conditions, planning and teaching time
The EP negotiations team held its first contract bargaining session with the District on Monday, January 9, presenting impassioned and strong arguments about aspects of the contract focusing on workload and working conditions.
The District's Chief Negotiator, Dorothy Davis, expressed the District's gratitude and respect for educational professionals, acknowledged the Board's increasing awareness and willingness to respond to workplace issues, and pledged to "collaborate" with BTU in order to negotiate the "best possible contract." "There is no great divide" between the district and teachers, Davis said, and assigned blame for current conditions to federal and state policies.
While the District's stated willingness to begin a "new day with new possibilities" was an encouraging opening to contract talks, the EP negotiations team will test the sincerity of the District's position.
The School District's team heard negotiations team members describe first-hand dangerous working conditions, such as mold and mildew, that are creating such serious health hazards that teachers and students are unable to enter the school building. Team members highlighted the contract articles that address planning and teaching time and workload, all of which currently are causing unnecessary stress and forcing teachers to work without pay well beyond their contract hours.
Among items our BTU negotiating team asked for were:
- For educators to be relieved of all clerical duties
- For educators to be provided with a hard copy of the teacher editions of all books
- To be provided with a lockable storage space in every classroom
- Private office space and district cellphones for guidance counselors and social workers
They also asked that faculty meetings be scheduled so as not to interrupt teacher planning, and that teachers receive one additional planning day at the beginning of the school year, with the only permissible interruption to teacher planning be limited to one one-hour staff meeting.
To address pervasive mold and mildew issues in our schools, the BTU negotiating team asked the district to provide health and safety inspection reports on code regulation charges or complaints, member injuries, mold, mildew, building health, progress reports, school site repairs and RFPs for people who inspect for mold and mildew.
One negotiating team member, a school social worker, addressed the fact that social workers, guidance counselors and speech and language pathologists have such an extreme workload of multiple schools and hundreds of students that they can do little more than put bandages on gaping wounds that require far more attention than they are able to provide, and asked that the district address the extreme need for more professionals in these areas.
Future negotiations sessions will deal with other aspects of the contract, including compensation.
Future session dates will be announced on btuonline.com.
12.12.2016 Bargaining Kicks Off!
The BTU EP (Teacher) negotiation team met with the District team on Monday, Dec. 12 at BTU Hall to open up contract negotiations. BTU President Anna Fusco began the session with impassioned opening remarks articulating our member's expectations for negotiations outcomes. (View President Fusco's address .)
The meeting accomplished in one session what in previous years had taken multiple sessions. Both sides agreed to ground rules and set dates for the next three sessions, a positive start which we hope foreshadows successful negotiations. Time will tell when the difficult work begins in the next three sessions.