Agreement averts damaging proposal for Cleveland schools

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"This agreement is far from perfect," CTU president David Quolke wrote in his online column. "Like any compromise, there is give and take, but because it holds the promise of helping students in Cleveland succeed, and it protects the voice teachers have in building a quality education system, it is an agreement we support and hopefully will be able to build off of."

The original legislation, which was part of a proposal in the Ohio Legislature, included elements similar to those that Gov. John Kasich unsuccessfully tried to push through statewide as part of Senate Bill 5, which voters overwhelming rejected in a referendum last November. Jackson's "fresh start" plan essentially would have eliminated collective bargaining by giving him the authority to throw out all previous contracts and impose the terms of a new contract if both sides failed to reach an agreement.

"This legislation would have had a devastating impact on educators in Cleveland and would have been detrimental to the quality of education in the district," Quolke says. "By working with the mayor, we believe that we have made bad legislation better for the benefit of educators and, most importantly, to move forward with our most important priority of providing a quality education and safe environment for the children that we see each day."

The compromise—which the Cleveland Plain Dealer praised in an April 14 editorial—includes changes in contract provisions related to teacher assignments, seniority, pay, evaluation, layoffs and recall.

While the union and the mayor have agreed on the language, the legislation still has to be approved by the state House and Senate and signed by the governor. If passed, most of the changes would not be implemented until the CTU contract expires in June 2013. [Dan Gursky, the Cleveland Teachers Union, the Cleveland Plain Dealer]

April 18, 2012