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HCTA Urges School Board to Prioritize Safety & People

 

As we apprach the return of Hernando students to our schools in the weeks ahead, our message to the decision makers remains unchanged: The safety of our students and staff MUST come first!  Teachers are bracing for a year expected to look like no other. We need the full support of leaders and the larger community to ensure the safe reopening of our schools.

 

August 2, 2021 - Bargaining Update

Tentative agreements have been reached regarding the addition of athletic supplements for new girls’ sports and clarification of priority for choice placement of employees’ kids at the school where the bargaining unit member works. The district team also indicated that they are gathering information regarding how parity bonuses might be paid to instructional staff left out of the state’s $1000 relief payments, though no agreement has been signed yet.

Given the current spike in the number of COVID infections in the community, HCTA proposed that the district offer 10 days of emergency sick leave again this year. It was noted that the district would be meeting with the health department later this week and that more information regarding health and safety measures may be available then. For now, it is expected that sanitizing of buses and high-touch areas will continue along with other precautionary routines, but teachers may rest assured that there is NO plan to continue Hybrid classrooms!

The likelihood that protocols and procedures will evolve with changes in the community's COVID conditions is high. We encourage our members to stay vigilant and inform HCTA leadership of any specific concerns as they arise. We will continue to provide bargaining updates through home email and social media. If you are not already receiving these communications, please ask your worksite leader to confirm your contact info and help you connect with our private FB group for members.

In the coming weeks, we will begin addressing the Teacher Salary Increase funds. This year's funds are legislated to AGAIN be distributed primarily to lifting the minimum base salary. 

Next scheduled bargaining session will be a joint meeting with HUSW to discuss the local referendum funds on August 25th.

Finally—it’s President-elect Biden

Patience—counseled by former Vice President Joe Biden all election week as Americans waited for votes to be counted—finally paid off Nov. 7, four days after Election Day, when Biden won in Pennsylvania and gained enough Electoral College votes to acquire a new title: president-elect. AFT President Randi Weingarten says the union’s leaders and members “can’t wait to get started” on the work ahead “with an administration that will embrace and fight for the values we hold dear.”

Your vote is your voice

AFT President Randi Weingarten’s latest column outlines the urgency of using our voices—our votes—in this life-changing election, when we will make a choice “between President Donald Trump, who has trafficked in chaos, fear, lies and division, and former Vice President Joe Biden, who seeks to reverse Trump’s failures on COVID-19 and the economy, and to unite and uplift the American people.” Besides the four crises we face—a pandemic, an economic crisis, racism and a climate emergency—democracy itself is on the ballot, as Trump continues to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election.

Sept 30th: Day of Solidarity

‘Back to school’ like never before

In her September New York Times column, AFT President Randi Weingarten says that going back to school has never looked like it does now. Weingarten explains that because of President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus, which has been chaotic, contradictory and inept, and the lack of federal guidance and funding, we’re seeing a patchwork of school reopening plans across the country.

August 28, 2020 - HCTA Bargaining Update

HCTA Bargaining Update – 8/28/2020

This week, HCTA and District bargaining teams reached tentative agreement on a comprehensive Schools Reopening MOU.

Chief among the provisions secured in the agreement are:

  • Access to cleaning and sanitizing supplies for classroom
  • Appropriate PPE for teachers commensurate with level of exposure  
  • Restriction on the use of ESE Co-teachers for coverage during times scheduled for delivery of services
  • Expansion of teacher authority and protections, including prohibition of recording without teacher’s consent
  • Remote work plan in the event of school and/or district closure
  • Option of remote work in lieu of leave during quarantine resulting from on the job exposure
  • Protection for use of leaves associated with COVID-19
  • Adjustment to proration of athletic supplements in the event of season cancellation

The MOU requires that the evaluation committee (EMART) meet to review classroom observation protocols and recommend temporary adjustments to evaluation processes or criteria. Further, administrators will be trained on--and teachers will be informed of—any alterations to the process, criteria or instrument prior to the first evaluative classroom observation being conducted. Both brick-and-mortar and digital classroom assignments will be observed by administrators following the normal walkthrough/observation process in the physical setting. Evaluative observations for brick and mortar, digital home learning, and hybrid classes require the administrator’s physical presence in the room.

Additionally, employees on the District’s insurance plan will not pay out of pocket costs associated with testing and treatment of COVID-19 through December of 2020.

Though HCTA was unable to secure class size limits for traditional classroom electives (Art, Language, etc.), the District team offered assurance at the bargaining table that each site administrator has been tasked with creating school-specific plans to address safety measures for transition times, common areas, meal times, and classes with larger student numbers. It will be important that we work with admin to address concerns for areas which pose greater possibility of exposure to the virus. Please contact your HCTA worksite leader to ask for assistance in addressing these concerns as they arise.

The Reopening MOU, along with the other tentative agreements pertaining to the 2020-21 school year, can be viewed online at myHCTA.org. Remember that all other provisions of the HCTA master contract continue to apply, including planning time protection, duty-free lunch, and the 7.75 hour workday.

The parties will be reconvening in the days ahead to address the Teacher Salary Allocation. Please continue to look for updates and information from the HCTA bargaining team in September.

 

July 30, 2020 - HCTA Bargaining Update

7/30/2020 - On Wednesday, HCTA and HUSW met in a joint bargaining session with the HCSD team at the request of HCTA to find five days during the first semester to exchange for the week of June 14-18. The proposal would have placed days of instruction where they are needed most--earlier in the year and ahead of the state testing window.

 

While HCTA and HUSW were able to find four mutually agreed upon days that would have ended the school year on June 14th (a definite compromise), HCTA was not able to sign the Memorandum of Understanding when the district team attached loss of pay and disciplinary action to any staff who took the four identified days off without an excuse from a healthcare provider.  The inability of HCTA and HUSW to agree to these penalties resulted in no agreement at the table on ending the school year earlier than June 18th.

 

The calendar committee will meet next week and will make a recommendation to the school board regarding the revised calendar, as the end of quarter timeframes still need to be adjusted. Regardless of recommendations from the calendar committee, final disposition of the school calendar is the decision of the school board.

 

HCTA and HCSD signed a memorandum of understanding regarding compensation and working conditions for teaching a hybrid class in which students would be physically present in the room and online simultaneously. The agreement allows flexibility needed to offer access to specialized courses and programs to students who cannot be on campus--with the intent to preserve FTE to protect teacher allocations--while limiting the implementation of hybrid model classrooms. (The signed agreement can be accessed on the HCTA website)

 

Additional discussion focused on the need for the temporary assignment of teachers to the e-school setting to provide instruction for students whose parents selected the Hernando e-school option. This discussion is still in progress.  If you indicated on the online survey that you would be willing to teach e-school, watch your district e-mail for information regarding these positions.  If you indicated your willingness to teach e-school, but there is not a position matching your certification, you will NOT receive the e-school email.

 

Many families did not respond to the district survey to choose brick and mortar, distance learning, or e-school.  If you are available to donate a couple of hours to your school to call parents regarding their choice, please reach out to your principal to find out if help is needed.  We need to alert parents to their options to reduce the likelihood of instructional positions lost due to parents not returning their children to school online or in person.  If overall enrollment declines, the number of staff needed also declines.

 

The next bargaining session will occur on August 6, 2020 at 9:00 in the HCSD board room.

Teacher Appreciation Week - May 4th-8th

Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week! We know that Hernando teachers are working harder than ever to ensure learning continues during this time of Social Distancing and school closures. Here’s one way you can acknowledge and celebrate our educators:

Wear #REDforED on Wednesday, May 6, 2020