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October 2017


ARC (Appraisal Review Committee):  Next meeting November 3.

COMMUNITY IN SCHOOLS TASK FORCE:  Met October 11.  We now have a timeline to complete a needs assessment and determine a model that works for us.  The superintendent is hoping to get the model approved by the Board in April and post a director position in May.  Planning would take place in the 2018-19 school year with implementation starting in Fall 2019.

CUYAHOGA COUNTY EDUCATORS SUMMIT:  First meeting October 26. Will review changes to OTES.

DISCIPLINE: No news yet.

DLT (District Leadership Team): Met October 4 and re-organized.

ER&D: nothing new.

GRADING TASK FORCE:  Will be starting soon to discuss grading practices throughout the district.

INSURANCE: First meeting October 18.  Medical Mutual extended their network in October to cover University Hospitals.  A notice was sent out asking members to update their Life Insurance beneficiaries.  Members might also want to check with STRS to see who is listed on their retirement account.

MASTER TEACHER:  Committee to meet October 5 to get organized for the year.  The Master Teachers and Teachers from last year are to be recognized at an upcoming Board meeting.

MOBILIZATION:  Several volunteers have delivered literature to specific voters for Dan Heintz and Jodi Sourini.  More help is needed to get these two Board candidates elected.

OFT:  We have 5 members who will represent teachers on Ohio Department of Education committees that have been formed.  Thanks to:  Jen Garreau, Marissa Pollutro, John Itayem, Marilyn Bruening, and Wendy Ward.

Darrell Lausche and Debbie Frost represented OFT at the AFT’s Women, Human, and Civil Rights Conference in New Orleans.

PTA:  Council meeting was held Monday, September 25.  We are collecting the names of the PTA building reps from each building.  Additionally, we urge every member to join PTA.  PTA will sponsor a presentation on October 23 from 6:30-7:30 at the high school mini-auditorium in their Social and Emotional Speakers Series:  Parenting with intention; Discovering and practicing what matter most to you, every day.

RETIREMENT: The STRS board meeting was held September 21.  The fund is on track for a decent, but not great return for the year.  STRS is still in hedge funds that are costly and not performing as well as their benchmark Russell 3000 fund.  795 Retiree Liaison and 279-R Retirement Committee Chair, Dan MacDonald once again spoke during public participation concerning the lack of cost of living adjustments imposed by the STRS board.

Please note that financial planners should not be hanging out in your buildings or approaching teachers during the work day.  To have access to mailboxes there is a process that requires approval from both the superintendent and union offices.  Please report any unauthorized solicitors to our office with the name and company of the perpetrators.

SOCIAL:  A TUSH was held on Friday, October 13 at the New Heights Grill.

SUMMIT: Met on October 13.  Spent time discussing the Administrative Union Concern over morale after we shared a response letter to Dr. Dixon that was signed by members of the Executive Board.  Summit will be developing and sending a survey to all board employees and will discuss results next month.  We will keep this topic on our monthly agenda.  Discussed task force and strategic goals updates, Ed Services walkthroughs, and illuminate ed problems.

1.  Grievances:

Job Not Posted – A position was created and filled over the summer that was not posted (as required by contract).  President Klein and VP Rego met in a Step 2 hearing on August 28.  The grievance was denied.  Our grievance committee directed President Klein to take the grievance to arbitration.  Administration was notified on September 8 of our intention.  An arbitrator was agreed upon whereupon administration offered a letter to the union leadership conceding they should have posted the position.  With a few modifications we accepted the letter as a way of resolving the grievance.

Termination Hearing:  Since we had been discussing how to resolve the issues surrounding this case the hearing officer suggested strongly that we meet with a settlement mediator to see if we could work out a settlement before going to a termination hearing.  We will meet October 23 with a settlement mediator.  If not successful the termination hearing will commence.

Excessive Discipline without Just Cause:  On September 11 a member was given a 7 day unpaid suspension from a fact-finding conducted May 2017.  The teacher was accused of not having implemented proper interventions, especially for one child.  This is the third record-keeping type discipline meted out to this teacher in three years.  A step 2 hearing was held September 27 and was denied.  We will meet November 2 for a step 3 Grievance Mediation.

2.  Administration Union Concerns:

Morale:  An Administration Union Concern was filed on June 8, 2017 over morale of our members.  At a meeting held on June 14 it was determined that administration would address our issues at the Summit retreat in August.  At the August retreat the issues were not addressed.  President Klein asked for a written response to bring to the CHTU Executive Board which was supplied on September 8.  As discussed at Executive Board the union leadership has put together a letter to the Superintendent that we will want the entire Executive Board to sign that was discussed at Summit on October 13.  The letter asked for recognition that we have a morale problem, ongoing surveys to determine what the big problems are, and an analysis of tasks that member do that can be lifted off their plates.


            Middle School Unified Arts Class Sizes and Loads:  An Administration Union Concern was filed August 29, 2017 over excessive class loads, class sizes, and the number of rooms foreign language teachers must travel to during the school day.  On October 9 President Klein, Vice President Rego, Middle School Vice President Frost, and Spanish teachers Mark Dougherty and Patricia Ochoa met with Superintendent Dixon, Assistant Superintendents Gould and Lombardo, Principals McNichols and Johnston, and Director Womack.  A productive conversation ensued where progress was made and follow up was promised.


3.  Fact Findings

a.       An elementary teacher had a fact-finding concerning a student who was placed on the incorrect bus on one of the first days of school.  A written warning was issued.

b.      An elementary teacher had a fact-finding on September 28 concerning a child who is a non-rider ended up on a bus.  A written warning was issued.

c.       A teacher was put on paid administrative leave starting October 9 after reports that students in the teacher’s classroom had engaged in inappropriate behavior.  An investigation is in progress to determine whether the teachers provided inadequate supervision.  The teacher was interviewed October 12 after the parents and children.  Awaiting disposition.

4.  Heights Coalition for Public Education – The coalition has organized several co-sponsored a free screening of the documentary “Backpack Full of Cash” on October 10, 2017 at 7 pm at the high school.  This movie documents the privatization of public education and is narrated by Matt Damon.  About 140 people attended.  The Coalition Steering committee met October 16 to plan a winter forum series January 29, February 12, and February 26. Next meeting is November 13.

5.  District Communication – Reaching Heights Director Krista Hawthorne is reconvening the group to discuss better ways for the Board and Administration to communicate on October 25.

6.  Middle School Schedule – The middle school TAP team wanted to change passing time at the middle school to 4 minutes from 3 reducing class periods by 1 minute.  The CHTU leadership spoke to the middle school representatives and wrote and Letter of Understanding which was given to administration.  Administration refused to negotiate beyond what the TAP team had decided, therefore nothing changed.

7.  New Supplemental – a member worked with his building principal to develop a supplemental contract for a new club.  Administration refused to add the club to the contract, opting instead for a one year deal where the member would have to secure grant funding to pay for every aspect of the club, including the teacher’s time.  It was pointed out that supplemental contracts can exist in the contract and administration still has the right to decide which ones to grant.  We do not agree with the added restrictions and did not sign off on the letter.

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