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Secondary Scheduling Discussion

Should the union take a stand on Secondary Planning Time?

And yes, this involves Elementary School teachers as well.

Where we are:

Secondary teachers used to teach 5 out of 7 classes a day. Before that, they taught 5 of 6 classes a day.

In 2013-2014, secondary teachers began 6 of 7. This was after the half penny failed the first time on the ballot. The district needed to cut about $31 million; $11 million was cut by losing 200 secondary jobs.

There have been various courses of action our members have suggested.

Each participant in this discussion must realize:

  • Each plan has pros and cons.

  • This will be a difficult decision. One person’s clear choice may not be another person’s.

  • Each solution has the potential for financial impact. Admitting a solution costs money, but not caring where the money comes from is NOT part of any solution.

  • The decision about our union’s stand will be made through inclusive conversations. This will not come down to social media rants or insults. Let’s realize this is a tough topic that affects jobs and money.

A few options: (Each of these is complicated and deserves more discussion than the sentence or two it gets here.)

  • Some say BFT should push for a return to 5 of 7. This will cost about $12 million to rehire about 200 positions. However, the 2 planning periods were much better.

  • Some say BFT should push for a 6 period student day. Then teachers will teach 5. This could cost some specialized jobs. Some of the career academies, industry certification programs and other electives could see enrollments drop. However, going back to teaching 5 classes per day will be a relief for teachers, and many say six periods for students is preferable for them as well.

  • Some say BFT should promote block scheduling. It is expensive, but great for planning time.

  • Some say BFT should actively try to end block where it still exists. It could save money that could go into other solutions.

  • Some say we should accept 6 of 7. Let’s not do anything that could cut programs; instead put every available dollar into salary.

About elementary:

As secondary pushes for planning time solutions, elementary needs relief just as much

For example: in elementary school we can discuss

  • A reduction in meetings.

  • A reduction in requirements.

  • A reduction in bureaucracy.

The recent BFT Time Study showed huge variances in requirements for elementary school teachers. Some schools do much better at respecting time and NOT piling on meaningless tasks. We are already working to spread best practices so we can all have relief, by the fall at the latest.

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