Colleagues,

First and foremost, thank you for all that you continue to do for your students during this difficult time. While schools remain closed, teachers are working as hard and as much as they do during “normal” times – if not more. Your professionalism, creativity and dedication to your students is commendable and impressive. We are neither surprised nor did we expect anything less.

In our ongoing effort to keep you informed, I want to update you on two important current issues:

– Continued Learning Plan. As the District continues to receive new and additional requirements and guidelines from the New York State Education Department and from other sources, the differing interpretations of expectations from teachers also continue to mount. In an effort to address this, the RTA, ASAR and the District are planning to issue to all teachers and administrators a joint communication intended to articulate and further clarify our shared understanding of what is required and necessary in order to meet our obligations and to ensure that we continue to serve all our students well. We also plan to develop joint mechanisms and protocols for addressing and collaboratively resolving concerns related to the implementation of the continuation of learning plan. And since schools may remain closed for a longer period of time than anticipated, it is even more important that we make every effort to work together for the benefit of our students and their educators.

– BOE “Brainstorming” About Furloughs. A couple days ago, the Board of Education engaged in brainstorming ways to address the additional projected deficit in the District’s budget. One idea floated was to furlough teachers, especially K-5 teachers. This wasn’t the only bad idea proposed but it may have been the worst. We can only speculate that it was predicated on the misinformed and wrongful assumption that there’s currently no teaching or learning ongoing for K-5 students because they don’t have ChromeBooks or laptops. If the proposal was meant for the next school year, it makes no sense; and if it was meant for now, it would be illegal because it conflicts with the Governor’s Executive Order that requires Districts to continue paying normal salaries for continuous learning for students during the term of the current Executive Order (at least until April 29) and during its subsequent extensions (for as long as the school closings continue). It may also be in conflict with the Federal Stimulus legislation. The school board is expected to resume the brainstorming next Tuesday. One can only hope that they’ll put this bad and undoable idea to rest and come up with better ones. If you haven’t already emailed the school board with your suggestions about the budget, please consider doing so <BoardOfEducation@rcsdk12.org>.

Stay safe.

Adam Urbanski, RTA President