Dr. Goodloe-Johnson hasn't wasted any time in the teachers' contract negotiations with a letter to be sent to all teachers in SPS. It reduces their work year one day from 182 to 181, taking a professional day away. Dr. G-J explains this is because the state has cut the funding. The SEA is not amused. Here's the story in the Times (there are already 6 pages of comment, mostly against the teachers).
Okay, so Dr. G-J is right. The money isn't there, the day has to be cut. However, she has been somewhat tone-deaf in doing it this way. However, her letter states their contract won't be renewed if they don't agree. What's to agree to? The state made a decision and the money isn't there. But why state it in that fashion? Why not just be informational?
Is this a misstep on her part? One, she comes from a right-to-work state and now is in a collective bargaining state. She can't negotiate with teachers individually. Two, is this really the time or the manner in which to do this?
Maybe she wanted to get this out there as soon as possible. Maybe she wants to take a tough stance early. Who knows?
Clearly, this isn't the way to start. I doubt if she will try to smooth things over before real negotiations start but it might be a good idea.
FYI, as I posted elsewhere, here's what I know about the upcoming negotiations:
- for whatever reason, the district will be doing teachers', principals AND 609 members (clerical, kitchen, janitorial) at the same time. Good luck with that.
- the teachers' contract expires August 31, don't know about the other ones
- a source tells me that the district is thinking of making all meeting notes public and the union is not happy about this. I don't know if this is a tactic to make the district look open and transparent (and if it is, could they do it for parents as well?) or to unnerve the union but it could backfire.