Why Couldn't An Agreement Be Reached?

Language Issue Number One: Pay for Performance

The Hollis School Board pay for performance language was not a fully explained plan. There was no research shown to the Hollis Teacher Association to explain this plan, and there was no language to describe how this plan would be implemented.

 The Hollis School Board based their pay for performance proposal on the district’s current teacher evaluation plan, Framework for Teaching written by Charlotte Danielson. This evaluation plan was set to go into its first review process in January 2011.  At the time of the School Board’s proposal approximately one-third of the staff had not been evaluated by this new framework. The Hollis Teachers Association wrote to Charlotte Danielson, asking if she believed her framework should be used as the basis of a pay for performance plan. Her response was, “I'm skeptical that any single measure should be used in connection with teacher salaries or bonuses, or any such thing. In fact, I'm skeptical about the entire enterprise; there may be reasons for paying bonuses, etc., but in my view the case has not been consistently made. And certainly not on the basis of my framework.” 

There is already a pay for performance clause in the contract, article 8.2, that states a teachers step raise can be withheld if his/her teaching performance is not satisfactory. This article has never been implemented to withhold step from a teacher in our district. The Hollis Teacher Association feels that this language is adequate to allow the School Board and Administration to hold any teacher not meeting the expected standard of teaching accountable through withholding any step increase until sufficient progress in his/her teaching is achieved.

Yet, the Hollis Education Association wanted to try to come to an agreement with the Hollis School Board. We believed from the negotiation process that in order to come to any resolution we would need to try and find a solution. We looked at the Danielson Model and drafted language based on her framework that could be implemented in a fair manner. We reviewed her explanations of unsatisfactory, basic, proficient and distinguished teachers. We saw that Charlotte Danielson listed a variety of reasons that a usually proficient teacher might be marked as basic due to content change, grade level change, new programs, or other new initiatives. We also read that beginning teachers are often marked as basic due to the fact that they are new to the profession. We saw that Charlotte Danielson stated that the distinguished level was “a nice place to visit, but not somewhere to live.” (This section of the model is attached to the back of this packet.) The Hollis Teachers Association wanted to add language that would allow teachers a chance to improve their teaching, as well as add a sunset clause to allow the school board and teachers the opportunity to review the success of this plan and either renegotiate it into our next contract if it was working, or fix/replace it with something else if it was not working. We offered our counter proposal not because we believed this was the perfect system, but as a way to show openness to try a pay for performance plan that would not be set in stone if it did not work or was not properly handled. There was fear on the teachers side that a plan like this could be manipulated to withhold step based on wanting to control overall budgetary costs, rather than truly based on teacher performance.

The next page will show the proposals and counter proposals on this pay for performance issue.

 

 

 

Teacher Association  Initial Proposal:

Year One and Two of Contract:

Full Step and 3% COLA

Group One and Two – 1,500.00 per year added to base salary

 

School Board Initial Proposal:

Resume existing step schedule based on the satisfaction of the following criteria:

 

Increase in one step on July 1 if employee has met annual milestones on “smart goals” and has achieved a rating of “proficient” on all domains of the Danielson model. 

Provide a cost of living adjustment of $600.00 on July 1, 2011 and July 1 of 2012 to those already on the top step of the salary schedule, subject to the same criteria as above, such COLA shall not “evergreen.”

This proposal is a package with the adoption of the District’s RIF policy proposal.

Teacher Association  Counter Proposal:

·       Full step

·       Group 1 & 2 - $1,500.00

Performance Pay: Step/End of Step Amount Based on the following Criteria:

 

Educators in Experience Years 1-3 – increase in step on July 1 if employee has met annual goal and has achieved basic and proficient based on the Danielson Model.

All Other Educators: increase in step on July 1 if employee has met annual goal and has achieved mostly proficient with no unsatisfactory based on the Danielson Model.

In addition, educators that achieve only proficient and distinction will receive step and an additional $1000.00 bonus.

Teachers will be made aware of any professional difficulties and potential step withholding by January 1st. Said educator, will be granted the opportunity to create a plan to show improvement in her teaching practice, if a plan is created and effort is made to fix any unsatisfactory practices step will be granted.

This Performance Pay language will expire with this contract, to be reviewed and re-negotiated.

School Board Counter Proposal

 

1-3 year teachers need ¾ “Proficient” and ¼ “Basic” ratings to move a step.

Increase in one step on July 1 if employee has met annual milestones on “smart goals” and has achieved a rating of “proficient” on all domains of the Danielson model. 

Teachers who achieve all “Distinguished” ratings get one step increase and $500.00 bonus.

Would require annual update to existing Danielson model.

This proposal is a package with the adoption of the District’s RIF policy proposal.

During mediation Hollis Teacher Association presented:

Step

1,200 added to base salary to teachers at end of steps

Pay for Performance based on current language in the contract, Article 8.2

Language added to the contract to create a committee to research and develop a pay for performance plan.

During mediation Hollis School Board presented:

1-3 year teachers need ¾ “Proficient” and ¼ “Basic” ratings to move a step.

Increase in one step on July 1 if employee has met annual milestones on “smart goals” and has achieved a rating of “proficient” on all domains of the Danielson model. 

Teachers who achieve all “Distinguished” ratings get one step increase and $600.00 bonus.

Would require annual update to existing Danielson model.

This proposal is a package with the adoption of the District’s RIF policy proposal.

 

Web-sites to visit to learn more about the negative effects of Merit Pay

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10213/1-76465-109.stm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ester-wojcicki/new-research-shows-merit_b_577886.html?...

http://k6educators.about.com/od/assessmentandtesting/a/meritypay_2.htm?p=1

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/09/21/study-merit-pay-teachers-doesnt-improve-student-t..

 

 

Language Issue Number Two: Reduction in Force (RIF)

The language in our current contract is very close to the language in school districts across the state. This language describes who will lose their job if there is a reduction in the number of teachers needed in our schools. The Hollis Teacher Association believes that the language at present is a fair way to decide who will maintain their positions. It calls for probationary teachers (beginning teachers and teachers new to the school) to be let go first and then continuing contract teachers to be considered if more cuts are needed. The Hollis Teacher Association believes this language is fair due to the fact that continuing contract teachers have gone through three years in which their teaching practices were reviewed and their contracts renewed due to the fact that administration felt their teaching practices were strong. Continuing contract teachers are continually evaluated to maintain expected teaching performance.

The language changes proposed by the Hollis School Board would eliminate the language that calls for annual contract teachers (beginning teachers and teachers new to the school) to be let go first and then continuing contract teachers to be considered if more cuts are needed.

The Hollis Teacher association worried that this one change without additional encompassing language changes would cause a variety of problems. The current language does not explain how a teacher with one evaluation would be fairly compared with a teacher with 4 to 25 or more evaluations, or how could a teacher with very little experience be considered a more valuable employee than a teacher that has been trained in the school programs and initiatives. In addition, without additional language to fully explain how a reduction in force should be carried out with these new changes there is the possibility to RIF a teacher based on their salary alone and not on professional merit. Due to these factors, The Hollis Teacher Association was tentative to add sweeping changes to the RIF policy.

 According to the Hollis School Board’s proposals, unless there was an agreement to new RIF language there would be no contract agreement. The Hollis Teacher Association’s desire to come to an agreement prompted a counter proposal to the Hollis School Board’s proposal. The Teacher Association counter proposed that any teacher in his/her first three years of teaching would be the first to face a reduction in force. This would mean that teachers that were hired into the district with more than 3 years of teaching experience with an annual contract would be compared on equal footing to teachers with continuing contracts. This was a big change to the current RIF policy, and unlike other RIF policies in the state. In the counter proposal, the Hollis Teacher Association also agreed to add Hollis School Board language, as well as removing language. A proposal was offered by the Teachers Association to add language to the contract to create a committee to research and develop a more detailed RIF policy.

There was no change or counter proposals to the School Board’s initial RIF proposal. The contract agreement according to the Hollis School Board was tied to the Hollis Teacher Association’s complete acceptance of this language.

The next pages will show the Hollis School Board and the final Hollis Teacher Association proposal on the RIF policy. Use the key at the top to see the original language and proposed changes. 

 

 

Hollis School Board Proposal on the RIF

Bold = Proposed Hollis School Board Language

Crossed Out = Language to be removed proposed by Hollis School Board

Underlined = Proposed Teacher Association Language tentatively agreed to by the School Board

 

Reduction in Instructional Staff Work Force

A. When it is determined to reduce the number of professional teaching staff, the following procedure will be utilized: When the Board finds it necessary to reduce the number of certified full time and/or part-time positions for reasons of declining enrollments, budget reduction, change in or consolidation of Board-authorized programs, or for any other reason determined necessary or desirable by the Board, the following reduction-in-force policy will be implemented:

1.      As soon as a reduction-in-force becomes necessary the President of the Association shall be notified in writing, specifying the nature of the proposed reduction.

2.      Reductions will first be accomplished by attrition (resignations, retirements, refusal to contract).

3.      If more reductions-in-force are necessary, then part time Staff shall be laid off.

3.  For purposes of this policy, classifications will be defined as follows:

a)      Regular education pre-kindergarten, through 6th grade;

b)      Specialized teaching areas including Special Education, Art, Computer, Guidance, Gifted/Talented, Nurses, Library, Music (General, Choral, or Instrumental), Physical Education.

4.      Within these classifications, probationary teachers shall be laid off first.  If further reductions are necessary, then teachers on continuing contract will be laid off. A continuing contract teacher is one who qualifies for notice, reasons, and a School Board hearing under the provisions of RSA 189:14-a. Among continuing contract teachers, the following criteria will be utilized The following criteria should be used to determine the order of teachers being laid off within a classification:

a)      New Hampshire Certification

b)      Academic and professional preparation beyond minimum requirements

c)      Teaching performance as determined by previous evaluations.

 

5.      If the factors set forth in paragraph A.4 are substantially equal, then seniority shall determine the order of layoff, with the least senior teacher being laid off first. Seniority is defined as the total years of uninterrupted service to the Hollis School District within a bargaining unit position. Approved leaves or transfers to a non-bargaining unit position shall not result in loss of previously accrued seniority. However, resignation shall terminate all previously accrued seniority.

B. Teachers shall be recalled in reverse order of layoff for any open position within the classification in which the layoff occurred. Only continuing contract teachers shall be eligible for recall rights. The same conditions as A.3 and A.4 shall apply to the recall.

1. Laid off teachers shall be eligible for recall for a two (2) year period following their final date of employment.

2. Teachers shall be responsible for notifying the Superintendent in writing of their current address. Recall notices shall be mailed certified, return receipt requested.

3. Teachers shall have twenty (20) business days to respond to any recall notice. Failure to accept recall to a permanent full-time position shall terminate the teacher’s rights under this Article.

4. No new employees shall be hired for any vacancy within a classification while there are laid off personnel from those classifications available to fill those positions.

5. Teachers recalled shall retain pervious seniority and other accrued contract benefits, such as accumulated sick leave.

6. Should a vacancy occur within a classification and there are no teachers on the recall list for that classification, then that vacancy shall be offered to the most senior teacher laid off from another classification who is certified and substantially qualified to teach that position. meets the criteria set for in A.3 and A.4 aboveIf the laid off teacher refuses the vacant position, his/her recall rights shall be retained.

 

 Hollis Teacher Association Last Counter Proposal on the RIF

 

Bold = Proposed Hollis Education Association Language

Crossed Out = Language to be removed proposed by Hollis Education Association

Underlined = Proposed Hollis School Board Language tentatively agreed to by Hollis Teacher Association

 

Reduction in Instructional Staff Work Force

A. When the Board finds it necessary to reduce the number of certified full time and/or part-time positions for reasons of declining enrollments, budget reduction, change in or consolidation of Board-authorized programs, or for any other reason determined necessary or desirable by the Board, the following reduction-in-force policy will be implemented:

1. As soon as a reduction-in-force becomes necessary the President of the Association shall be notified in writing, specifying the nature of the proposed reduction.

2.      Reductions will first be accomplished by attrition (resignations, retirements, refusal to contract).

3.      If more reductions-in-force are necessary, then part time Staff shall be laid off.

      3.  For purposes of this policy, classifications will be defined as follows:

c)      Regular education pre-school, through 6th grade;

d)      Specialized teaching areas including Special Education, Art, Computer, Guidance, Gifted/Talented, Nurses, Library, Music (General, Choral, or Instrumental), Physical Education, Spanish, Environmental Science and School Psychologist.

4.      Within these classifications, any teacher hired with less than 4 years experience shall be laid off first.  If further reductions are necessary, then teachers on continuing contract will be laid off. A continuing contract teacher is one who qualifies for notice, reasons, and a School Board hearing under the provisions of RSA 189:14-a. Among continuing contract teachers, the following criteria will be utilized

d)      New Hampshire Certification

e)      Academic and professional preparation beyond minimum requirements

f)        Teaching performance as determined by previous evaluations.

 

5.      If the factors set forth in paragraph A.4 are substantially equal, then seniority shall determine the order of layoff, with the least senior teacher being laid off first. Seniority is defined as the total years of uninterrupted service to the Hollis School District within a bargaining unit position. Approved leaves or transfers to a non-bargaining unit position shall not result in loss of previously accrued seniority. However, resignation shall terminate all previously accrued seniority.

B. Teachers shall be recalled in reverse order of layoff for any open position within the classification in which the layoff occurred. Only continuing contract teachers shall be eligible for recall rights. The same conditions as A.3 A.4 shall apply to the recall.

1. Laid off teachers shall be eligible for recall for a two (2) year period following their final date of employment.

2. Teachers shall be responsible for notifying the Superintendent in writing of their current address. Recall notices shall be mailed certified, return receipt requested.

3. Teachers shall have twenty (20) business days to respond to any recall notice. Failure to accept recall to a permanent full-time position shall terminate the teacher’s rights under this Article.

4. No new employees shall be hired for any vacancy within a classification while there are laid off personnel from those classifications available to fill those positions.

5. Teachers recalled shall retain pervious seniority and other accrued contract benefits, such as accumulated sick leave.

6. Should a vacancy occur within a classification and there are no teachers on the recall list for that classification, then that vacancy shall be offered to the most senior teacher laid off from another classification who is certified and substantially qualified to teach that position. If the laid off teacher refuses the vacant position, his/her recall rights shall be retained.

 

 Add language to the contract to create a committee to research and develop a more detailed RIF policy.

 

 

 Language Issue Number Three: Management Language & Working Conditions

A. The Hollis School Board presented the following proposal:

         Except as specifically limited by express provisions of this agreement, the school board, neither directly or acting though its designees, reserves the rights to exercise management prerogatives to include, but not be limited to; unilaterally determine the standards of service to be offered by it; set the standards of selection of employees ; select employees; direct and assign its employees; take disciplinary action; relieve its employees from duties because of lack of work or other legitimate reasons; maintain the efficiency of governmental operations; determine the methods, means and personnel by which its operations are to be conducted; determine the content of job descriptions and classifications; allocate and reorganize positions and staffing; take all necessary actions to carry out its mission in emergencies; and exercise complete control and discretion over its organizational and the facilities, methods, means and technology of performing its work.

B. The Hollis Teacher Association was open to this language that defined management jurisdiction and authority in exchange for language that would define employee rights. We proposed the language below to be added to the contract. This language was taken directly from our sister school, Brookline School District’s contract.

         No teacher shall be disciplined without just cause. Discipline is defined as warnings, reprimands, adverse evaluation, suspensions, non-renewal, dismissal, or other actions of a disciplinary nature, which are noted in writing in the teacher’s personnel file. However, just cause shall not extend to the non-renewal of a probationary teacher (See RSA 189:14-A). Counseling shall not be considered a disciplinary action.

         Any staff member shall be entitled to have present a representative of the Association during any meeting which involves or may involve disciplinary action. When a request for such representation is made, no action shall be taken with respect to the employee until such representative of the Association is present. If disciplinary action is likely to occur at a given meeting, the teacher shall be advised immediately of said possibility and be advised by the Employer of the right to representation under this provision of the Agreement.

C. The Hollis School Board proposed to keep their original proposal in trade with the following changes they made to the Teacher Association proposal (see below).

No teacher shall be disciplined without just cause. Discipline is defined as formal written reprimands, suspensions and dismissal. Just cause shall not extend to the non-renewal of a probationary teacher (See RSA 189:14-A). Counseling shall not be considered a disciplinary action. Upon the employees request, the employee shall be entitled to have present a representative of the Association during any meeting in which disciplinary action is taken.

D. The Hollis Teacher Association was concerned with the amount of language that was required to be removed from their proposal, when there was no change to the Board’s Language. No agreement was reached on this proposal, and it was not discussed during mediation.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
E-Mail Correspondence with Charlotte Danielson


From: sanm@.net
To: charlotte_danielson@hotmail.com
Subject: Performance Pay Based on Your Program

Dear Ms. Danielson,

As we understand it, your framework is intended to be a means of support, to promote teacher effectiveness by encouraging  self-reflection in a variety of areas that you call "domains." School districts all across New Hampshire are presently turning to your framework to help structure the teacher evaluation process. However, in your book you state, "Although the levels [of performance] are useful for supervision and teacher evaluation, it is important that they be used to structure professional conversations and not in a 'gotcha' manner."

Our school district is presently in the negotiation process, and we have come to a standstill in the area of teacher evaluation and salaries. Do you think your framework should be used as the sole basis to grant or withhold teacher salaries?

Sincerely, Ellen Lencsak & Sandy Van Sciver

__________________________________________________________________________________________

From: "Charlotte Danielson" <charlotte_danielson@hotmail.com>
To: sanm@.net
Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2011 10:48:49 AM
Subject: RE: Performance Pay Based on Your Program

 

Ellen and Sandy -

 

Thanks so much for writing, and I'm sorry to be slow in responding.

 

You raise a number of important issues here, but bottom line, I'm skeptical that any single measure should be used in connection with teacher salaries or bonuses, or any such thing. In fact, I'm skeptical about the entire enterprise; there may be reasons for paying bonuses, etc., but in my view the case has not been consistently made. And certainly not on the basis of my framework. 

 

Even if people wanted to do that, they'd need to be sure that the money was going to the right people. That suggests highly rigorous training (and probably certification) of those making the judgments. We are still (as a profession) only in the early stages of figuring out what that should look like.

 

I hope that helps, at least a little - charlotte
________________________________________________
Charlotte Danielson
Educational Consultant
12 Gordon Way, Princeton, NJ, 08540, USA

(609) 921-2366 (phone) 

(609) 497-3952 (fax)

(609) 468-7695 (mobile) 
charlotte_danielson@hotmail.com (e-mail)
www.danielsongroup.org

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