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August 2018


 ARC (Appraisal Review Committee): First meeting is set for August 27th

COMMUNITY IN SCHOOLS TASK FORCE:  A coordinator position was posted over the summer to head up our community in schools programs.  No one has been hired yet.

CUYAHOGA COUNTY EDUCATORS SUMMIT:  The CCES has been invited to meet with state candidates at a September 17 Northeast Ohio Education Association event.  CHTU Immediate Past President Tom Schmida is serving on the CCES Steering Committee.

DISCIPLINE: The Student Code of Conduct should be rolling out sometime during this school year.  The district is awaiting approval from the Office of Civil Rights.

DLT (District Leadership Team): no news.

ER&D:  CHTU ran 5 classes over the summer with 62 participants.  Elementary Teacher and ER&D Instructor Nancy MacDonald has been appointed as the Local Site Coordinator for Local 795.


INSURANCE: At the June 14 meeting it was decided that we would pilot telemedicine starting in October.  This is where you have a medical consult over the phone for minor issues instead of having to go to the doctor or emergency room.  Currently this is not a covered benefit.  We will be trying to determine if using this method saves our plan money and saves on substitute costs.  More info will roll out later.  Next meeting September 25.

MAKE-A-WISH – We are expecting to have more information on the child we are sponsoring this year.  We encourage every building to get a team together for the October 6 Walk at the Zoo, a huge fundraiser for Make-A-Wish.  Our goal will be to raise $8-10K this school year to sponsor a child’s wish.  After the October event we will gather to discuss our next steps.

MASTER TEACHER: Master Teachers were recognized at convocation.  We thank Sarah Adair for her contributions over the last three years on the committee. Melissa Garcar will be new to the committee this year joining Kathy Lawrence and Tiffany Jordan-Shaw.

MOBILIZATION:  Tony Bifulco and Carolyn Pavel have trained several interested members to be part of our contract action team for their buildings this summer.  Our goal is for teams to be helping determine our most important issues before we head into contract talks in the spring.

OFT:  Thanks to everyone who attended union training or a conference this summer.  Darrell Lausche, Tony Bifulco, Carolyn Bifulco, Josephine Shelton-Townes, Dejunee Lawson, Karen Rego and Tamar Gray. (let me know if I missed anyone)

POLICY TASK FORCE: We are assuming this task force will start on a new set of board policies this year.  Nothing yet.

PTA:  PTA council’s first meeting is September 27.  The speaker series starts October 25.

RETIREMENT:  In Fiscal year 2017-18 the STRS general fund was up 9.57% at $77.7 billion, a $2.6 billion increase from the previous year.  At the August 2018 STRS meeting that was attended by Retiree Liaison Dan MacDonald we learned that one of our candidates for STRS Board that lost the last election, Dale Price was appointed to an active member seat on the board held by someone who recently retired, who is therefore ineligible for that role. Dan continues to organize and fight against STRS policy that denies retired members cost of living adjustments when the fund is prospering.

SOCIAL:  There will be a tailgate party for the first home football game on Friday, August 24 from 5:30 to 6:30 PM by the high school cafeteria picnic benches.  

Heights Heritage House Tour – September 16.  Please email Tina Reynolds if you can work a 3 hour shift in a beautiful home for the Heights Community Congress house tour.  Tickets for the other houses are available for volunteers.  This is a fun event where you see a lot of community people, see great houses, and showcase our local as a community supporter.

SUMMIT:  A retreat was held August 8 to finalize the TAP Retreat.  We also reviewed and updated our norms, dedicated to seeing where we could positively impact workplace satisfaction and better communication of Summit work.

1.  Grievances:

            a)  A grievance involving a member who we believed was disciplined unfairly will be heard by an arbitrator in late September.

            b)  A grievance was filed by high school members because the scheduling process for classes was not done according to contract and past practice.  A step 3 mediation was held on August 9 where a settlement was drawn up that will clarify the process for the coming year.  A grievant is exploring options before agreeing to this resolution.

            c)  A grievance was filed by a member who was disciplined excessively at the end of the school year.  A step 3 mediation was held on August 9 where a resolution was made to remove the discipline from the official personnel file automatically after 22 months (instead of requesting at 3 years).  Additionally, the member has agreed to attend training in the area where administration has concerns.

2.  Unfair Labor Practice:  High School Counselors:  We elected to use mediation with the State Employee Relations Board over the issue of the high school counselors being responsible for doing work that has always been done by someone without a caseload.  After more than7 hours of work we resolved the issue. The settlement included:  a counselor being placed at the high school to perform the work in dispute, CHTU agreed to withdraw its CollegeNow subcontracting grievance for the 2018-19 school year, and CHTU agreed not to pursue action outside of contract negotiations regarding a position we were concerned about changing.

3.  Termination:  A member who was on an intervention support plan last year was recommended for termination, even though an agreement had previously been reached that the consequence for not succeeding in the plan would be that previous discipline would remain in the member’s personnel file.  A pre-termination hearing was held August 2.  Subsequently we entered into negotiations for a Last Chance Agreement where the member would work on another plan of intervention which, if successful, will mean continued employment and failure will lead to termination without normal contractual rights. It may be important to you to know that our member never did anything to harm children – this was all about paperwork and deadlines.

4.  Reduction in Force – There are certain unusual circumstances where a RIF (reduction in force) may occur outside of the normal spring cycle.  This has never happened before.  In March 2018 we notified administration, with a doctor’s note, that a member who had been on assault leave since May 2017 would be returning to work September 1.  Subsequently, the date of return was moved up to August 16.  Administration did not hold a position for our returning member. After we met with the returning member and administration on Thursday, August 16 to determine if any accommodations were needed to return to a classroom, administration decided to RIF one of our brand new teachers.  The RIFd member has been placed in a temporary assignment and we are advocating for the district to commit to keeping the new member employed through the year.   We are awaiting a response from the superintendent, but considering our options for resolving this situation properly.

5.  Heights Coalition for Public Education – Met June 4 to sketch out the next year.  We will meet again August 29 at 5:30 and adjourn to a 7:00 PM forum about the state report card sponsored by the League of Women Voters.  Both meetings will take place at the high school.

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