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August 2019

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you to all who were able to stay after the extended Convocation.  I realize that many of you needed to return to your buildings, especially to middle schools.  If you have not voted on our contract offer please get ballots AND stubs to our office by Thursday, August 22 - which happens to be the same day as our next Executive Board meeting. I am sure steward can bring ballots and stubs to the office to save you a trip.
Please find the August Executive Board Report below.  If you have any questions please send them with your building rep or you are welcome to attend the meeting. 
In Union,
Ari Klein
CHTU President


ARC (Appraisal Review Committee):  No meetings scheduled yet.

COMMUNITY IN SCHOOLS TASK FORCE – Josephine Shelton-Townes and Ari Klein attended a meeting in Washington DC on July 10 along with OFT Community in Schools Liaison Stuart McIntyre. We are trying to coordinate with Supervisor of Community and School Partnerships Nancy Peppler to get together with the Superintendent and a Board member to gauge the support for a more coordinated effort and determine the next steps.

CCES (Cuyahoga County Educators Summit)  - first meeting October 23.

DISCIPLINE:  The new Student Code of Conduct is being rolled out.  Grammy Awards are expected for the presentations created for both staff and students.

ER&D (Educational Research and Dissemination):   Over 140 credit hours were granted to members taking ER&D courses this past summer.

INSURANCE: no meetings scheduled yet.

MAKE-A-WISH: Please sign up or create a team and sign up for the Walk for Wishes October 5.  We will raise enough money to grant another child a wish this year.  Create teams under the “Cleveland Heights Teachers Union and Friends Company.” (LINK)

MASTER TEACHER:  The Master Teacher Committee will be meeting at the end of September.

MOBILIZATION: We need help staffing a house for the Heights Heritage Tour on September 15.  Work part of the day and get a free ticket.  Great fun.  Interesting houses and garden.  Raises money for the Heights Community Congress, a local organization dedicated to fair housing and related concerns.  Email Tina Reynolds ( you can help out.

OFT (Ohio Federation of Teachers):  Executive Committee met in Columbus on July 15. The local leaders conference will be September 27-28 with the OFT Executive Committee, Council and some standing committees meeting.

POLICY TASK FORCE: nothing new yet, but policies are always being revised.

PTA: PTA Council’s first meeting will be August 30.

RETIREMENT: STRS investments grew 7.18% in Fiscal Year 2019 which was close to what they predicted, which is good news considering market volatility.  Total investments were $78.9 Billion.  STRS is still balking on considering cost of living increases for anyone…..ever.

SOCIAL:  Be on the lookout for our first TUSH of the year, Although the House Tour (see above in Mobilization) is pretty social too!

SUMMIT: The TAP Retreat was held August 7.  First Summit meeting is August 30.

1.  Grievances and Unfair Labor Practices:

            a)  Accusations around SPED non-compliance – a member filed a grievance on April 10, 2019 after receiving a written warning stating the member March 13, 2019.  A step 1 hearing was held on April 15, 2019 that was denied.  The Step 2 hearing is was held May 15 and denied May 22.  We withdrew the grievance after the member attached a response to the letter and found out that she would have a new supervisor for the coming year.

             b) Unfair Labor Practice – the Union filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the District on July 22, 2019 over the District’s refusal to bargain over changes in terms and conditions of a member’s job.  A mediation in Columbus is scheduled for September 6.

            c) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – a member has asked for the union leadership to assist in a mediation with the District over a claim filed by the member over disparate treatment based on a disability.  The mediation will be held September 12.

2. Fact-Findings:

a) A member was called to a fact-finding on October 16  over concerns of untimely response to parent communications.  We found on June 6 that administration considered the matter closed and felt they had given non-disciplinary counseling in the matter.

b) A member was called to a fact-finding on October 15 over concerns of “patterns of absences” even though the member has a known condition that indicates intermittent FMLA is needed.  Administration did not answer an email inquiry on June 6 if the matter was closed.

            c)  A member was called to a fact-finding December 11 for concerns over statements supposedly made about a student.  We found on June 6 that administration considered the matter closed and felt they had given non-disciplinary counseling in the matter.

            d)  Two teachers were called into fact-findings February 14 for “inadequate supervision” issues.  Oral Warnings were given on May 31.

            e)  A teacher was called to a fact-finding May 3, 2019 for inadequate preparation for job responsibilities. There was no dispute that some parts of the job had not been accomplished, but there were extenuating circumstances that were shared.  Given non-disciplinary counseling on May 29.

3.  Negotiations – ballots and stubs for our current offer are due to our office Thursday, August 22.  Tallies will be published on Friday, August 23.  Monitor negotiations will occur on Friday, August 23 and September 4.

4.  Payroll – Several mistakes were made over the summer that involved communications issues between HR and Payroll or in the new payroll system, including; two retirees paid the $12,000 retirement enhancement that were not eligible and members who worked over summer that did not have STRS contributions deducted on August 2 and then recovered surprisingly on August 16.  Please keep us in the loop when there are issues.

Suggestions for the beginning of the year:

-make sure you got paid for summer work/conference/PD/elementary summer opening and closing.  If you were sent to training by the District you should be paid for hours in learning sessions.

-double check your leave balances to ensure the sick and personal days you have are correct.

-make sure you are on the correct step of the salary scale.  One of these situations was recently rectified with a large lump sum owed to a member over several years.

5.  Heights Coalition – Co-conveners Ari Klein and Susie Kaeser have been working in conjunction with OFT legislative director Darold Johnson, State Rep. Janine Boyd, and State Senator Sandra Williams to gather data about how the CHUH district is unique in the state in terms of money lost through vouchers.  We had spoken several times when the state budget was decided upon and then again afterwards.  We all believe a legislative solution is needed to help CHUH.  Darold Johnson will act as our point person with the Legislative Service Commission in researching several questions and possible solutions so that we find natural alliances and coalitions in creating exemptions to the current budget crises that vouchers have created in our system.

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