Here’s some background on the most recent issue:
In September 2010 the school department unilaterally cut approximately 50 ETF clerk positions, leaving the then-ETFs to share clerks with one another. This led to, among other things, a slowing of the data-entry process as well a greater difficulty in the scheduling of annual reviews and reevaluation meetings. The BTU filed a grievance on the loss of clerks. The hearings have been held, and we are awaiting a decision.
In September 2011, the department made matters worse by morphing the position of ETF into the position of COSESS (Coordinator of Special Education School Services). This reorganization has led to the filing of nearly 20 caseload grievances. Finally, throughout both years the district has stubbornly refused to listen to our professionals, both COSESS and school based/itinerant staff, who have sounded the alarm that the reorganization plan is misguided and flawed. The calls to revisit the reorganization plan have gone unheeded. Rather than solve the underlying issues, the district has decided instead to offer a stipend — some might call it a bounty — limited to a narrow subgroup of those responsible for the completion of this duty.
Here’s what the district fails to realize: it takes a group effort to complete an annual review or a reevaluation meeting. All staff have to pitch in and do the preliminaries: the writing of reports, the testing and assessments if needed, the psychologicals and so on. It’s truly a group effort. To reward one population and not another is unfair and unworkable. What the district also doesn’t realize is that our professional staff are already flat-out working to their maximum. There’s no “free” time, no room for more testing or more writing of reports. As it is, our staff is “over-meetinged” and overworked. The district cannot get blood out of a stone. Here’s what one elementary substantially separate teacher wrote to me in response to the Globearticle last week.
So here’s where it stands with us. We will sit down and talk to the school department on this issue, but we will insist that any proposed resolution be fair to all members who are responsible for the work. The district has unfortunately let its own flawed reorganization plan cause untold damage. We don’t want matters to get any worse.