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Pasco superintendent rejects elementary teachers' grievance

Pasco schools superintendent Heather Fiorentino acknowledged teachers' concerns over their growing workload, but said denied their request for relief in a class action grievance filed by more than 1,300 of them in October.

Fiorentino listened to impassioned pleas from teachers to ease the load during a two-hour hearing on Nov. 1. She said at the time that she faced a "lose-lose" scenario in that if she backed the teachers, she was taking away the principals' ability to manage their schools and, if she backed the principals, she could further demoralize hard working teachers.

In her ruling, dated Nov. 9 but issued late Monday, Fiorentino deemed the grievance understandable but unsustainable. She suggested that much of the testing that teachers sought to reduce is the result of state and federal requirements. She rejected the notion that teachers do not have adequate planning time, and she asserted that schools do not mandate any specific formats or methods for teachers to do their lesson planning.

See the full text of her response attached below.

United School Employees of Pasco business representative Jim Ciadella told the Gradebook he was not impressed with Fiorentino's ruling. "I am disappointed," he said. "We thought there would be more movement on the district's part."

He expressed hope that superintendent-elect Kurt Browning might have a different approach to the situation once he takes office on Nov. 20. If not, Ciadella said, the USEP will consider appealing Fiorentino's decision to the School Board.

Board members did not want to comment on the case specifics. They agreed that Browning should be given an opportunity to assess the grievance before any other action takes place. Browning did not want to comment on the grievance. Story here.

Posted by Jeff Solochek at 5:15:16 pm on November 13, 2012