2017, March, Opinions, Teacher Contracts, Acquavita

What Is Up With These Teacher Contracts?
By: Julia Acquavita, 2018 (posted 3-21-17)

This past month, the controversial topic of teacher contracts has been making its way into various conversations among the residents of Cheshire. I know what you may be thinking- What even exactly are teacher contracts? Essentially, these types of contracts can be defined as contracts between teachers and school districts. This law includes the concepts of offer, acceptance, mutual assent, and consideration. For a teacher to determine whether a contract exists, he or she should consult authority on the general law of contracts. However, the school board must ratify these contracts before they can be put in place. Even if a school administration offers a teacher a job and the teacher accepts this offer, many state laws require that the school board must ratify the contract before it becomes binding. Thus, even if a principal of a school district informs a prospective teacher that the teacher has been hired, the contract is not final until the school district accepts or ratifies the contract. The same is also true if a school district fails to follow proper procedures when determining whether to ratify a contract.

How does this relate to Cheshire? Recently, the teachers and the school board of Cheshire had come to an agreement regarding the teacher contracts. The next step was to have the town council approve of the agreements made by the teachers and the school board. However, a bump in the road was hit, to say the least; the town council did not ratify the contracts, setting everything accomplished a step backward. According to Mr. Redford, a math teacher here at Cheshire High School and a key player in the construction of the teacher contracts, the town has hired an arbitrator to help bring both the teachers, school board, and town council to an appropriate agreement. To shed some light on the situation at hand, Mr. Redford described the recent process of coming to a final conclusion for these contracts as “complicated and time consuming.” Based on the past information I have acquired, I agree with Mr. Redford that this process must be very complex and stressful. After all, imagine how hard it must be to convince everyone to agree on one final contract! I can only hope that the hired arbitrator will help make this process a little less stressful while bringing everyone to a general consent.