We hope your first day school year 2011-2012 will be a good one, with many more to follow.
Today is a full, unassigned day (for all except the first half hour) that has been set aside for room set-up and preparation. Tomorrow, at the start of the day, you’ll have a 30-minute meeting with your BTU Building Rep, during which he or she will give an update as to the state of contract negotiations. Long story short, we have been bargaining with limited success with the school department for a successor agreement since June 2010.
Our Collective Bargaining Agreement expired on 8/31/10, though its provisions continue in effect until we successfully negotiate a new contract. We have made some–albeit limited–progress on a few issues, though significant issues remain. We will give all members an update via a telephone town meeting that will be held on Wednesday, 9/21. (Our original bargaining submission can be found here.)
AFT President Weingarten Offers Help
AFT President Randi Weingarten has given the BTU a grant in the neighborhood of $150,000, as well as a team of six support staff, to help with a new campaign to bring about a contract settlement that is both good for students and fair to our members. We look forward to working with President Weingarten to bring our contract settlement to a satisfactory conclusion.
School Committee to Discuss Possible Move of BLA
This Wednesday night at English High Schools is this year’s first meeting of the appointed Boston School Committee. Agenda items include the possible moving of BLA to the Hyde Park High School site to make way for Boston Arts Academy, which currently shares a building with the Fenway. Here’s the rub: BLA doesn’t want to move. Nor should it. All three schools are fine schools in need of improved and enhanced space, and the school department has placed all three school communities in a very uncomfortable position vying with each other for limited resources.
Fenway, which would expand in its current site, needs more and better space to accommodate its waiting list and its vibrant program. Ditto for BAA. Ditto for BLA. So why should BLA take the brunt of the move (see here)? The school department has created a dilemma brought about by its own poor planning. How so?
The recently-vacated Hyde Park High School cost $41 million to renovate, the vast bulk of those dollars coming from the state. So the state now has suggested that it might want its money back if the school department leaves the Hyde Park site unused. Therefore the push to find someone to go over to Hyde Park. So why didn’t school department decision-makers know this BEFORE they closed the Hyde Park facility, moving one of its three small schools to the Grover Cleveland and closing the other two? Good question–and why should BLA pay for this mismanagement?
Upcoming School Committee Agenda for 2011/2012 Sure to Stir Controversy
Also on the school committee agenda…the appointed school board announced over the summer that it was drafting a code of conduct for members in the audience. Seems that upcoming agenda items throughout the year–school assignment, additional school closings, and more school relocations–may bring out heightened activity among those who long for some good old-fashioned democracy in the school committee decision-making process. Stay tuned.
Two Notes for BTU Members:
The BTU, with the help of the AFT, will be holding a first-ever telephone town meeting on Wednesday, 9/21, at 7:00. See section immediately following.
And the Boston Retirement Board is holding an election for its labor representatives. Ballots have been mailed out to all members’ homes. We urge that you vote for our own Michael McLaughlin as well as the fire department’s Sean Kelly. Both have been endorsed by our executive board, and both have represented us well. We urge their re-election. Ballots must be received by September 23rd.
A little bookkeeping
This e-bulletin goes out weekly to all members. If you know of someone who does not get the bulletin, please forward and he/she can sign up. The list is protected, and email addresses gathered will be used ONLY for the purpose of this e-bulletin. The e-bulletin has over 9100 subscribers. The bulletin is designed to give you up-to-date relevant information each week. It is your bulletin, and we are happy to print anything relevant and helpful to our membership. One can also sign up on our web page in the upper left hand corner in the beige box.
|BTU Telephone Town Meetings Scheduled
Two BTU telephone town meetings have been scheduled. These are town meetings in which we call YOU on your home or cell phone. So we need your best telephone number. Please click here to RSVP for BTU’s telephone town hall and to give us your best number-whether you think we have it or not.
Telephone Town Meeting #1–The BTU will call BTU Building Reps only on Tuesday, September 6, at approximately 7 PM. Building reps will receive up-to-the-minute information as to the status of negotiations for a successor contract. The town meeting is a give-and-take conversation, and BTU Reps. will be able to submit questions. Reps. will be able to disseminate current negotiations-related information at the Wednesday AM meeting with staff. By contract, the BTU gets a 30-minute time period on Wednesday at the start of the day to go over union issues. (There are also newspapers in the mail to assist with the discussion.)
Telephone Town Meeting #2–The BTU will call the entire membership on Wednesday, September 21, at approximately 7:00 PM. The phone calls are done virtually simultaneously. As above, this telephone town hall meeting will be a give-and-take discussion on the live issues of the day, specifically on the status of negotiations. All members will be able to submit questions by the push of a button. We need your best telephone number to do this properly and make sure you get to be a part of this. Please click here to RSVP for BTU’s telephone town hall and to give us your best number-whether you think we have it or not.
We call you at the phone number we have listed for you. You opt in by staying on the line-at no cost to you. If you stay on the line, you will participate in a “town hall-style” discussion on matters of concern to BTU members, including an up-to-date status report on negotiations. Participants can submit questions at the push of a button, and we will answer as many as possible in the allotted time. The conversation is scheduled to last an hour or more, and people can participate by staying on for whatever duration they wish. What’s more, there will be an additional interactive component of the discussion aside from submitting questions, wherein members can ‘vote’ on poll questions we put out on the call by pressing a phone button. We are excited about our town hall meeting and urge you to participate. Please make sure we have the best phone number at which to call you.
Please click here to RSVP for BTU’s telephone town hall and to give us your best number-whether you think we have it or not.