Pasco teachers union blasts teacher training mandate at six turnaround schools
Leaders at some of the six low performing Pasco County schools under the state's watch have told their teachers to come to mandatory training sessions, in preparation for new turnaround efforts in the 2016-17 academic year.
That order from the top has the United School Employees of Pasco crying foul.
Citing several sections of the district's teacher contract, USEP president Kenny Blankenship shot off a "cease and desist" letter alerting the administration that principals cannot force teachers to attend these sessions.
"USEP would consider the implementation of this practice as a unilateral change in working conditions for our teachers and an unfair labor practice," Blankenship wrote. "The decision to move in this direction would, at the very least, require negotiations, and this has never been done in spite of USEP's request to be engaged in the planning for the DA schools of Pasco County since February 2016."
He told the Gradebook that the administration did not bring any requests or information to contract talks as late as Thursday.
Assistant superintendent for administration Kevin Shibley responded via email to Blankenship's concern, saying he would remind all principals of the rules.
"We continue to work on a proposal for the six schools impacted by the state's Differentiated Accountability system that could modify that expectation and anticipate bringing it to the table next week." Shibley stated. "In the meantime, schools have been advised that while these additional activities can be strongly encouraged, administrators should not say or behave in a manner that would lead a reasonable teacher to believe that their attendance is compulsory."
He added that any teachers who have specific complaints or concerns should work with the Employee Relations department to clear up any misunderstandings.
Teachers are scheduled to return to work on Aug. 8.