District Misses Deadline
First, the school district fell asleep at the wheel, missing a state reporting deadline a few months back. In the words of their chief negotiator to our negotiating team in February, the district was ‘dinged’ by the state to the tune of $500,000. While this money is not lost, it is temporarily on hold.
TIF Need Not Include Individual Awards
Secondly, the district has been insisting that as part of the outcome of the TIF negotiations, there must be included a distribution of funds to individual teachers based on standardized test score data and student growth based on same. This is not true, and the state has sent all parties a written document verifying same. The district’s wrong-headed stubbornness in this matter has unnecessarily delayed the negotiating process by a few months.
Too Much Testing; No Need for More!
What’s more, we oppose the district’s position, though it is now debunked, because”simply”there is already too much standardized testing in our schools. Under the district’s proposal, testing would necessarily increase to satisfy the need to provide individual incentives, and those in subject areas untested by the MCAS (82% of our staff) would soon see new MCAS-like tests sprout up if for no other reason than to satisfy policymakers. High achievement is the result of a school-wide effort and a series of good teachers. Individual rewards don’t help that cause.
Using TIF $$, District Seeks to Pad Administrative Expenses
Lastly, we are attempting to negotiate a TIF agreement that maximizes dollars to school-wide teams as well as to individuals who assume more professional responsibility in leadership positions. The district, on the other hand, has initially proposed that more than 35% of the allotted funds go to administrative expenses. Most of these funds instead ought to go directly to schools and the people who work in them. All of this said, we look forward to wrapping up these discussions in concert with the entire master bargain. For a more detailed report, please see here (PDF).