- Mask Wearing in Schools & Buses
Superintendent Browning announced this week that he is considering lifting the Mandatory Mask Requirement, originally based on Governor’s Executive Order of March 9, 2020, suggesting he will make masks a voluntary choice if the order expires on April 26th. It is clear our district has done a very good job of maintaining effective academic programs for our students since schools reopened last August. However, we have been able to maintain a modicum of safety for employees due to the health & safety provisions negotiated last October and the actions of all teachers, SRP, NNB and Administrators. We should all feel proud of our efforts and work to complete this incredibly difficult year with safety provisions kept intact.
With that in mind, USEP immediately contacted District staff to schedule a meeting to address the potential change the Superintendent has now referenced. Our Memorandum of Understanding for the “Reopening of Schools” specifically states the following:
“Should circumstances change and/or guidance from the Federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and or County or State Health Departments change the District’s reopening plan for addressing COVID-19 related issues, the parties agree to meet to discuss the impact those changes may have on wages, hours and working conditions.”
Both the District and USEP are seeking legal guidance as to what options may be available should the Governor not choose to renew the Order. We will keep you apprised of outcomes as we get more information.
- COVID Leave
If you need to take leave because of a COVID related event, IT IS IMPERATIVIE YOU FILL OUT THE MACH FORM AT THE TIME OF THE EVENT TO BE CONSIDERED FOR ANY PAID LEAVE
Here is a link to the form - https://ryu.pasco.k12.fl.us/do-mform/view.php?id=386522
- SPM Score Concerns/Appeals
USEP is aware that some members are concerned about potential negative impacts on SPM scores due to MySchoolOnline or other Covid related issues. We realize that some students have gone back and forth between MSOL and brick and mortar. We also realize that some MSOL students might simply not show up for mandatory face to face assessments. We are monitoring this situation.
- At the state level, if passed, proposed Senate Bill 886 would clarify that tests administered for the current year may not be used for the purposes of evaluations of instructional personnel. In other words, Senate Bills 886 and 7070 would remove this concern.
- If both Senate Bill 886 and 7070 are not passed, it is worth noting that there is an appeals process for employees with concerns regarding SPM scores. When scores are communicated, instructional employees are also given information on how to appeal that score if appropriate. The timeline for appeal is within 10 days of receiving your score. At that time, impacted members could reach out to our office for more help/information.
- As a reminder, while we certainly understand and agree with the desire to always strive for the highest possible SPM score and Summative Evaluation score, it is also important to know that the state has eliminated the Best and Brightest financial incentive for achieving these high scores.
- Education Commissioner issued an Executive Order earlier today. We are looking at this document to determine how this will affect teachers and VAM scores. We spoke with Employee Relations and senior District staff to address concerns and are waiting for a response, hopefully later this afternoon.
- Governor’s $1,00 Bonus
The Governor has done a lot of good things. We have been back in school face-to-face for the better part of a year without major problems. The economy has been revived, vaccinations are being offered through numerous outlets and we have been returning, slowly and steadily, to a pre-COVID world. The Governor also recently proposed a $1,000 bonus to principals and teachers for their work over the past year, realizing the many sacrifices that have been made by these folks. I applaud the Governor for thinking of these individuals and wanting to do something special for them. I want to believe that his intent was well meant, however, his message fell far short of its proposed goal.
During the fourth quarter of last year, the summer, and throughout this year, many other individuals made sacrifices on behalf of students and were not recognized or offered a bonus. Most, if not all of you reading this, were involved in making sure students’ needs were met. Feeding, planning curriculum, meeting health and safety protocols we negotiated for a safe return, providing technology and related support, contact tracing - I could go on and on. Most of the employees that performed these tasks were not recognized by the Governor or even offered a thank you, let alone a bonus. I would like to recognize all the education employees who took part in some manner to see to it that our students moved forward and were provided with what they required to be educationally, emotionally, socially, and mentally successful and could perform in a safe and healthy environment. Thank you form USEP.
I think our Governor and Legislature needs to rethink this bonus offer and truly reward ALL PUBLIC EDUCATION employees. They need to rethink much of what is going on in Tallahassee and work to make Public Education stronger and its employees prouder for making this our chosen profession. Wouldn’t that show support for “THE YEAR OF THE TEACHER?”
- Legislative Update
Yours in Solidarity,
Don Peace, President