Thursday, April 26, 2018
Education

Pasco teachers union says lengthy meetings, assessments violate contract

LAND O'LAKES — United School Employees of Pasco president Lynne Webb on Tuesday accused the Pasco school district administration of violating teachers' recently approved contract in two key areas.

Some teachers are being required to hold multiple lengthy meetings with their "professional learning community" groups, rather than one 40-minute session as agreed upon, Webb told the board. The district also is forcing teachers to complete 41-item self-assessments of their work, Webb added, when the contract deal stated that self-assessments would not be required.

"We didn't spend a whole summer at the table … and two years before" hashing out rules for teacher evaluations and performance "for key elements to be overlooked," she said. Teachers feel abused and stressed, she said, adding that the USEP would take legal action to enforce the contract, if needed.

Superintendent Kurt Browning took personal offense to Webb's words.

"I totally disagree with the characterization that we are abusing our teachers," Browning told the board.

"I said a year ago this week, when I became superintendent, the major initiative of this administration would be to move students further down the academic line," he continued. "I am not going to be sidetracked about all this discussion about what we are doing and what we are not doing. … (But ) I am not going to willfully violate the terms of a contract that we have agreed to."

He asked Kevin Shibley, executive director for administration, to explain how the district is complying with the agreement while pursuing its goals.

Shibley said he worked with USEP leaders in crafting the directions for the self-assessment and was shocked by the negative reaction. He added that most schools are following the rules on "professional learning community" meetings, and the administration is addressing specific concerns as they arise.

Assistant superintendent Amelia Larson next defended the district's efforts to change its way of doing business.

"A PLC is not a meeting. It is a way of living," Larson told the board, explaining that teachers needed to change their mind-set to work more collaboratively. "I ask the board not to vacillate from the support you have given us. We cannot reach every kid if we do not reach every adult."

Webb returned to the podium at the end of the meeting.

She reiterated her complaints, noting that she had come to speak for teachers who could not attend at 9:30 a.m.

"I do believe Mr. Browning is very sincere in his efforts," she said. But "when you spend so much time concentrating on the future and don't give them time to take care of the present … they begin to feel like indentured servants."

She reminded the administration that contracts carry weight.

"You may be a new superintendent," Webb said, "but you cannot reinterpret 30 years of contract language and practice."

The USEP has told teachers not to follow district instructions on these two areas until the issues can be resolved.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Hillsborough says its teachers are well-paid; the teachers say it’s not true. Who’s right?

Hillsborough says its teachers are well-paid; the teachers say it’s not true. Who’s right?

TAMPA — Seeking to show that Hillsborough County school officials waste money that could go to teacher raises, union director Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins talked about highly paid administrators. She talked about legal fees paid to outside firms when in-...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Sheriff: Sunlake SRO who took down student ‘did what he had to do’

Sheriff: Sunlake SRO who took down student ‘did what he had to do’

At a news conference on Wednesday, Nocco identified the officer as Richard Stackon, who joined the Sheriff’s Office in 1994. Stackon has spent "several years" as an SRO, Nocco said, and he had nothing in his file "that stands out." Around 1 p.m., Noc...
Published: 04/25/18
Converting Ridgewood High generates excitement, dismay

Converting Ridgewood High generates excitement, dismay

NEW PORT RICHEY — Chris Dunning is a bundle of energy as he greets families to Wendell Krinn Technical High School’s first open house.He talks rapid fire about the opportunities to earn college credits and gain career training while also completing a...
Published: 04/25/18
Hernando schools superintendent ‘pink-slipped’ by public following firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary

Hernando schools superintendent ‘pink-slipped’ by public following firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary

BROOKSVILLE –– A room full of people wearing purple erupted in frustration before Hernando County school officials Tuesday night, scolding Superintendent Lori Romano for her recent firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary, which has been struggling ...
Published: 04/25/18
Hernando school officials deny Chehuntamo charter school on second try

Hernando school officials deny Chehuntamo charter school on second try

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School Board on Tuesday denied the 2019 opening of Chehuntamo Advanced Performance High School, a charter school proposed by the same group that applied once before in 2017.The team behind the school, said to be for ...
Published: 04/25/18
Hernando School Board okays second district-wide survey to evaluate superintendent

Hernando School Board okays second district-wide survey to evaluate superintendent

BROOKSVILLE — A second district-wide survey to evaluate the performance of Superintendent Lori Romano soon will go out to about 3,000 Hernando County School District employees, giving them a chance to weigh in on the job she is doing.The instrument, ...
Published: 04/25/18
Hillsborough’s Eakins gets high praise for finances, mixed reviews on other issues in his annual School Board evaluations

Hillsborough’s Eakins gets high praise for finances, mixed reviews on other issues in his annual School Board evaluations

TAMPA — Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins is proud of his record in boosting high school graduation rates and inroads he has made in marketing the nation’s eight largest school district.His seven bosses on the School Board...
Published: 04/25/18
Sarasota student, family apologize for racist ‘promposal’

Sarasota student, family apologize for racist ‘promposal’

The family of the 18-year-old Sarasota high school student under fire for the racist prom proposal he sent out on social media this weekend has publicly apologized for their son’s actions. They also said that as a result of his actions, he wil...
Published: 04/24/18
Updated: 04/25/18
SRO being investigated in Pasco County for arrest of student

SRO being investigated in Pasco County for arrest of student

LAND O’LAKES — A school resource officer at Sunlake High School is under investigation after he tried to take a female student into custody on Tuesday, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.School officials asked the SRO remove the student f...
Published: 04/24/18

Battle continues over west Pasco school rezoning

Jim Stanley does not give up without a fight.The west Pasco County parent who brought down the school district’s 2017 attendance zone revisions, leading the administration to change its procedures along the way, has filed a new challenge to the syst...
Published: 04/24/18