Business folks pitch change to Pinellas/union contract
The Pinellas school district's contract with the teachers union was among the topics that got a lot of discussion at last Friday's retreat for the Pinellas Education Foundation board of directors. The foundation thinks the contract is a hurdle for the "decentralized decision making" it wants to see a lot more of.
Foundation board members - and guests, which included five school board members, a handful of district administrators and a couple of PCTA officials - broke into five groups at to throw out recommendations for changing the contract and other topics. You can see the full list of topics and recommendations by clicking on the link below. (The document was compiled by foundation president Terry Boehm.) Here's what changes were suggested by the group that talked about the contract:
* The document is difficult to read and needs to be re-written and better organized.
* There are structural challenges needed to be addressed:
1. Principals have a lot of responsibility but very little authority.
2. There is little in the document to incent self-improvement.
3. Students are not addressed and receive little protection.
* Early release Wednesday is an inconvenience to parents; this should be discontinued.
* Leave of absence provision is too lenient.
* Principals have very little control over hiring or firing.
* The 75% rule creates obstacles for a principal to lead.
* The contract too often acts as the management handbook. The district needs to regain the management rights for the principal if principals are to lead.
* There are 133 days built into the grievance process; far too many days and an unnecessary expense.
* The union believes the 75% has a historical context because Baldridge promotes consensus.
* The union felt education has been attacked by the legislature and wants more opportunity to speak with the business community.