Published On: August 18, 2015

Good day. We hope your summer is going well.

The negotiating season for our successor contract is almost upon us, and we are seeking members for a newly-constituted Collective Bargaining Committee that will be appointed and approved by the membership at the regularly-scheduled September 9 membership meeting.So what does the Collective Bargaining Committee do? See this article in the upcoming Union Teacher, and if interested, please apply. All BTU members are welcomed to apply. Experience not required.

Interested in submitting an item or items to be considered for the BTU Collective Bargaining package? It’s really simple: Go here and let us know what you want us to consider!

Opening of school reminders:

See the sections below on the opening-of-year schedule as well as the particulars of the ELT (Schedule A) school schedules. To implement ELT in your building properly, you will need to have an active School Site Council up and running. If you have any questions about this, please email Shanika Houlder if you are in a Schedule A/ELT school. General questions on School Site Council operations go to Caren Carew.

On the issue of the opening of school, specifically September 2, which is the first day teachers and paras to report: September 2, Wednesday, is the first day of the official work year for teachers and paras. This is the day we customarily work six hours, which are devoted to room preparation, clean up, and setup. This is a long-standing provision in the negotiated contract between the school department and the BTU. This year — given the early start of the school year — both parties agreed that all teachers and paras would be allowed to make up the six hours due on September 2 at anytime between August 15 and September 2 provided the building was open.

The contract language is straightforward: teachers and paras go into their respective school, they get their room ready, and they

The Russell School school principal insists on being present in the building to watch teachers and paras as they do their room clean up and preparation in August.

let the principal know what hours and over what days they completed their six hour obligation. The principal need not be present, need not approve, need not monitor, need not supervise, and need not require a blood oath that the work was done. In short, we are each to be treated, well, like adults. So what transpired at the Russell School?

The principal at the Russell specifically told staff that they could come do this work on two days only — Saturday, August 22 orTuesday, September 1 — as those were the only days she could be in the building, presumably, to supervise and monitor their room preparation. Ouch! The staff at the Russell is fully capable of taking care of this by themselves without supervision, as was intended under the new language.

We notified the School Department late last week that this was a problem, and we expect to be able to work this out even as the school department drags its heals. In the meantime, feel free to visit your school anytime your building is open from August 15 through September 2 to get your work done. As long as the hours total six, it doesn’t matter how you do them.

A reminder on Salary Schedules: The same salary in effect in June will be in effect through October 31, 2015, at which point a 3% across-the-board salary increase will kick in. See both current and new schedules.

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