Colleagues,

Here’s a brief update about current issues;

– Last Day of School. We have worked with the District to reach an agreement on what should be the last day of work for teachers in this academic year. Our position is that the District must take into account the fact that teachers continued instruction during the Spring break in April and therefore the school year should end earlier. The Board of Education is expected to take action on this at their meeting this evening. You should hear the exact details soon thereafter from the Superintendent and/or us.

– Negotiations. After declaring impasse, we have resumed negotiations for a successor contract and have already held several mediation meetings with the District. We hope that the involvement of the NYS Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) mediator will prove helpful to conclude mediation before the summer break. We will continue to keep you informed about any progress.

– Special Education Displacements. To avoid layoffs of Special Education teachers, the District notified some K-12 certified Special Education teachers that they may be displaced from their current Elementary schools and assigned to Secondary schools. The District claims that they have too many Special Education teachers at the Elementary level and too few at the Secondary. The displacements would be done by seniority. Affected teachers have raised questions and concerns about this process and we have already filed a Class Action Grievance reflecting these legitimate concerns. Martha Keating will soon email affected teachers and respond to the most frequently asked questions. Please email her <maskerade6@aol.com> with any additional questions or concerns.

– Granting of Tenure. Despite our persistent efforts, we have not yet received a response from the District as to the granting of tenure for the more than 200 RCSD teachers affected this year. Like many other Districts in NYS, the RCSD is still awaiting direction and guidance from the State and from the NYS Education Department. The hold-up has to do with the (non)status of APPR. We will continue to press the District to resolve the matter as soon as possible.

– Rochester Teachers Care Video. This week, we highlight the creative and dedicated work of Sharon Hanson, a Pre-Kindergarten teacher at School #44 <https://youtu.be/OHz9UjTpsmM>.She exemplifies the professionalism and passion that Rochester teachers exhibit every day. If you would like to recommend a colleague for a future video, please email Aimee Rinere <arinere@rochesterteachers.com> or Matt Lavonas <mlavonas@rochesterteachers.com>.

Thank you, again, to the many teachers who have reached out to their students, their students’ families, and to each other, during the last days of demonstrations for racial justice and for an end to the centuries of unequal treatment and oppression of people of color in our country. Your efforts to promote real change, healing and harmony increase the chances that we could build a better and more just society for all our children.

Stay healthy and safe.

Adam Urbanski, RTA President