ACS Holds Grievance Hearing
The Andover Central School Board of Education held a special grievance hearing this evening, which is a legal term and not just the BOE trying to make the meeting sound more interesting. Though it was highly effective in attracting public attention as over 25 members of the school staff and community were in attendance.
Before getting down to the grievance-ing they had time for public comment. A member of the public expressed concerns about some classes not having class advisors at present. Board President Perkins stated that new advisors would be appointed at the reorganizational meeting this summer if they were available. There was also some concern about the massive amount of texts flooding our inboxes from the school system about all manner of topics with the new addition of sports. President Perkins and Dr. Scheulien stated they are working on at least making limited lists so that only parents of children in certain sports will get those particular updates. Personally I would LOVE to be taken off of the pool schedule text list if possible.
There was also a brief interlude about joining a class action lawsuit about Juul pods and their effect on schools. There were some very nifty infographics and whatnot in the agenda that is available online. The board voted to participate in the Juul litigation.
Getting down to the meat and potatoes of the grievance hearing representatives from the ACS Teachers' union aired their grievance. Mr. Riley laid out the timeline specifically that there was a verbal grievance made to Mrs. Turner on March 23rd which was not resolved, followed by a written grievance again to Mrs. Turner on March 28th that was also declined, which led to another written grievance to Dr. Scheulien on April 21st which...was not resolved. That brings us to now when the grievance has been brought to the Board of Education.
The teachers' union grievance is specifically that Andover Central School is not honoring their contract with the teachers' union specifically regarding prep periods. Per the teachers' contract, each teacher is to have no less than one prep period per day of at least 30 consecutive minutes and no less than 200 prep period minutes per week. This prep period is a teacher-directed time period used to prep lessons, call or email parents, grade papers, etc. Essentially how each teacher uses their prep period is up to the teacher and not the district. The issue is that there have been many incidents of teachers' prep periods being used for CSE meetings without that prep period time being rescheduled in any way.
The teachers' union did acknowledge that the situation has improved recently, but CSE meetings were continuing to cause loss of prep periods. Board members Michele Calladine and Kevin Walker both questioned how often this was impacting teachers. It was stated that this impacted primarily elementary teachers anywhere from 2 to 11 times this year. The concern appeared to be that if the teachers' union doesn't get resolution on this issue it will continue, and the district will begin to use teacher prep time less as teacher-directed time and more as district-directed time.
In past years this issue was mitigated by grouping CSE meetings on specific days and having floating substitutes cover classes allowing teachers to keep their prep periods. That is what the teachers' union would like to happen again. An alternative solution would be to pay the teachers for additional time used outside of their contract hours. Teachers' representative Cheri Drake stated that the additional compensation was not their preferred solution and that they simply wanted their prep period time to be provided even on days they were required to be in meetings.
President Perkins stated that he and the Board would discuss the issue and submit a written response to the teachers' union. Perkins also thanked the teachers' union representatives and other teachers present for bringing the issue to the Board's attention and following the appropriate process. The Board then went into executive session to talk about "particular persons."
This meeting was a 9/10. The public portion of this meeting was 29 minutes long which is a great length for a meeting. Turns out the school has air conditioning, so that was great. We didn't have that luxury back in the day. For the most part the discourse was civil and very informative. It would have been slightly improved if the word "grievance" had been used more throughout.
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