Pasco union on Race to the Top: "We will not sign"
As the Pasco School Board prepared to discuss its willingness to participate in the Race to the Top, a representative for the United School Employees of Pasco advised that the staff won't be joining the effort.
Jim Ciadella, the USEP's lead negotiator for teachers, told the board that the group has concerns that the federal grant program would roll back three decades of collective bargaining in favor of "untried strategies" such as differential pay and evaluations based primarily on student results.
He added that it would be impossible to negotiate and ratify agreements on such controversial matters in the short period of time that the state and federal governments have set forth. Ciadella urged the board not to sign the state's memorandum of understanding to participate in the Race to the Top, saying the program "is not in the best interest of students."
"We will not sign," Ciadella said, collecting some applause from teachers in the audience.
The School Board decided to move ahead with the memorandum of understanding, saying they wanted to stay in the process until they get more details. Besides, several members said, they do not want to wind up having to implement the required changes without getting any money to do it.
They pledged to continue working with the USEP on its concerns.