Update: The Pinellas middle school mess
It's been a tough couple of months for Pinellas middle school teachers, who are working harder for the same pay under a new seven-period schedule instituted by district officials over the summer. The schedule saves the district $2.8-million in tough budget times but violates the teachers contract.
The issue could come to a head soon when the district and the teachers union submit to binding arbitration. But before that happens, the district and the teachers union are working on a possible resolution. Associate superintendent Ron Stone tells The Gradebook that the union has proposed a new way to comply with a contract provision requiring that secondary teachers teach no more than five periods. (Under this year's schedule, middle school teachers are teaching six.) The idea: compressing the new seventh period into the remaining five periods. That would make class sizes a bit larger but teachers could at least return to a five-period load. Stone said the district is studying whether the proposal would violate the class size amendment.
In a related note, many continue to say in letters and blog posts that the Times has not covered this issue. Our response: We have. Listed below are several recent stories and an editorial. This issue has evolved since the spring and we plan to continue updating readers as events warrant.
Our coverage also includes many articles in which the middle school schedule issue is mentioned but is not the sole focus of the story. Here are just two of those stories:
(Photo credit: Edvard Munch's The Scream, which seems to fit the moment.)