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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Job security is an issue as Hillsborough teachers resume bargaining




Hillsborough teachers and their union, finally at the table, are discussing contract language in a post-Gates world.

Specifically, the district wants to establish three categories of teachers: Tenured (hired and tenured before 2011); one-year contract employees (those who were not tenured by 2011, when the state ended their protections) and probationary employees.

Administrators are assuring the union that teachers won't be fired arbitrarily midyear; and that if a teacher chooses to leave because, say, there was a conflict with the principal or the school was a bad fit, he or she won't be stopped from finding work at another school.

But union leaders say that, despite all the assurances that the district will be fair, teachers should not have to place that much trust in them.

For all the criticism of the Gates-funded Empowering Effective Teachers, it created three components to a teacher's rating: The peer evaluator's score, the principal's score, and test data that showed how much the students learned.

Now Hillsborough is moving to a system more like the rest of the state's: One evaluation by a principal, combined with test score data.

There's also along list of conditions to be renewed a second year, and union director Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins does not like the wording in some of them. Last on the list: "The Superintendent has discretion to non-reneww any contract he/she deems necessary."

That kind of uncertainty could make it hard for Hillsborough to hire teachers. "Why would you come here if you could be fired for any reason or no reason at all?" Baxter-Jenkins said.

There has been no talk of money so far, and both sides of the table have tip-toed around the issue of the Gibson Consulting Group report, which recommends phasing out 1,700 jobs over five years. 

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 15, 2016 4:38pm]


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