What Else Is Included In The Jefferson County Teachers Association Contract?

The Jefferson County school board and teachers union have both approved the new five-year bargaining agreement that will give schools more options when hiring teachers. 

The agreement includes no pay raises, but does allow the normal ‘step’ increases to occur depending on the number of years an individual has worked in the district and what their educational rank is.

This is what’s been reported in the media, but there are other smaller changes that teachers and the public might find interesting, like language that was added to “provide contractual protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

Although the district already has this policy in place, the fact that it’s now in the contract agreement gives an added layer of protection, says JCTA president Brent McKim.

Here is a list of some other items that have changed, according to a document sent by the JCTA to WFPL. 

• Elementary planning time will be increased from 200 to 250 minutes per week to match middle school and high school teachers.

• Early Childhood teachers’ planning time will also be increased from 200 to 250 minutes per week.

• JCTA members will now have a contractually-guaranteed right to utilize personal leave in order to attend family graduation ceremonies, even during the last five days of school.

• JCTA members will no longer be prohibited from engaging in gainful employment while on sick leave. (FMLA rules apply.)

• When school is delayed two hours or more, teachers will report to school one hour prior to the arrival of students.

• The District will be required to provide time during the day for special education placement testing, and the District will be prohibited from requiring special education placement testing during teachers’ planning periods at all grade levels.

• The elementary requirement that at least half of each Gold Day be used for teacher and team work will be expanded to middle and high schools.

• Language was added that will provide contractual protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

• A new article for job-sharing teachers lays out contractual rights for these members.

• The district will no longer be able to deduct personal days for attending required legal proceedings in conjunction with an assault/injury.

• The new Agreement will clarify that intervention/remediation work with students is NOT considered planning time.

• Stipend pay will be indexed to the salary schedule, so pay raises will also increase the stipend rate.

• The rate of pay for tutoring will be increased from $13.26 to $15.00 per hour.

• A number of union members have reported that extra service forms for making up planning time, etc. have not been made conveniently available to them in their schools. The new agreement will require the District to make these forms available at all times online.

• A new provision will require that the number and range of all pupil instructional achievement levels in a given class be kept to a minimum.

• Special area teachers, such as those who teach art, music, PE, and computers, have long objected to being referred to as “itinerant teachers” in the contract. In the new agreement, every reference to “itinerant teachers” will be replaced with “Special Area teachers.”

• All Special Area teachers will be provided with at least five minutes to set up for the next class when the class change involves different grade levels.

• During the Special Area teachers’ pairings process, schools will not be allowed to remove themselves from the process and pairings committee decisions can only be changed for “extraordinary circumstances.”

 • All teachers will have a contractual right to a white board.

• Any teacher who is laid off will be offered a position as a substitute teacher before substitute positions are offered to any other applicant.

The Teacher’s Voice:

All district-wide committees must now have Association-selected representation. Committees with more than ten members must include at least two Association-selected representatives, and committees with more than 20 members, must include at least three Association-selected representatives. The new Agreement will also prevent the District from appointing more teachers to district-wide committees than those appointed by the Association.

Compensation:

The new Agreement obligates the district to provide at least an additional $5 million to schools for school-based instructional compensation. This could be used for ESS, tutoring, after-school classes, summer school, paid after-school PLC work, and so on. All $5 million will be paid in compensation to members of the bargaining unit; however, we recognize that not all members will receive this additional compensation.

In addition, JCTA negotiated an “honesty clause” stating that if state revenue is more than 1.5% higher than anticipated, the District must share with teachers 50% of the additional revenue beyond the 1.5%.

Early Childhood Teachers:

In addition to 50 additional minutes of planning time each week, early childhood teachers will be provided changing pads, wipes, and an appropriate changing area for their students. New language provides for subs for early childhood assistants and commits the District to provide computers and internet access for all early childhood teachers. Other appropriate technology when and where available will also be provided.

Transfers:

The Agreement will implement a new year-round transfer process in which transfer committees (3 teachers and the principal) will interview transfer candidates in order of seniority. A maximum of eight candidates can be interviewed and the committee may stop interviews at any point and offer the transfer to a candidate. If less than four candidates have requested a transfer to a given school, enough additional potential new-hires can be interviewed to provide up to four candidates for interviews. This allow these teacher-majority transfer committees to potentially make not just transfer, but also hiring decisions in some cases.

Speech and Language Pathologists:

An entire new article in the Agreement will codify a 50/50 pairings committee to determine school assignments for SLPs. Half of the members on the new pair­ings committee will be appointed by JCTA. A second provision in this new article will specify that SLPs will have travel time between schools, not to interfere with their lunch time.

Other Issues:

• A new Priority Schools article will be added specifying the role of the contract in Priority Schools and allowing Priority Schools to receive the transfer list one week early. It also commits the District and the Association to explore ways to help attract and keep great teachers at these schools.

• The new Agreement will require faculty meetings to begin within twenty min­utes after the school day ends for students.

• The new Agreement will also be more transparent and user-friendly because the language will reflect all past memoranda of agreement modifying the contract. There will no longer be a need to check other documents to determine whether a memorandum modified the contract at some point in the past.

• New language expressing the District’s and the Association’s commitment to valuing and respecting diversity will be added to the preamble of the Agreement.

• Revised the bargaining process to begin after school ends.

• We removed language regarding promotions to administrator positions.

• We updated references to SACS to AdvancED/SACS and NCATE to CAEP.

• We agreed to add a number of existing Memoranda of Agreement to the negoti­ated agreement as an appendix.

• Many members have asked for their schools to be able to shift their starting time to accommodate parents during parent-teacher conference days. The new Agreement will allow for this to occur. It will also allow schools to use conference days for other purposes, provided that at least half of the day is used for teacher and team work.

Devin Katayama

Devin Katayama host middays for WFPL and reports on education and other Louisville issues.

@DevinWFPL

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