Pasco district, teachers settle on evaluations
The details to implement teacher evaluations, which took several months of negotiations a year ago, were settled in mere days this year by representatives of the United School Employees of Pasco and the district administration.
The sides agreed to make it easier for teachers to earn a "highly effective" rating, while also ensuring that teachers' results would be based on the academic assessments of students they actually teach as opposed to school or district averages. They also took steps to make the process more about professional development, with additional informal classroom observations to provide extra feedback on teacher performance.
The sides did not reach any conclusion on raises, however, as the district team did not make a counter offer to the USEP's proposal for distributing the available funds as shares, based on the number of years a teacher has worked in the district.
"We were told they were not prepared to respond," USEP lead negotiator Jim Ciadella said.
District negotiator Kathy Scalise acknowledged that the administration had received many emails from employees supporting the USEP proposal. The superintendent's office had in the past suiggested it might prefer an across-the-board raise amount for everyone.
"We're trying to make sure that we're looking at it from the perspective of what we can do with the money from the state," Scalise said. "We have the money. We have to figure out the best way to distribute it so it's equitable for everyone."
USEP president Lynne Webb said she was encouraged by the extra time the administration is taking: "It's movement in the right direction."
Negotiations over contracts for school-related employes also are under way. The USEP has submitted an economic proposal that the district has not responded to. Other items still under review include employee dress code.
"We're getting pretty close," said Tom Neesham, district interim director of employee relations.