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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Too often in Duval County, shared decision making means teachers will like it or lump it.

By Greg Sampson

Time for a Grievance

At my school, we won the lottery: we are up 50 students over the spring projection, which should bring us about $180,000 into our school budget, which would be another two teachers and maybe some dollars for supplies and equipment.

            What were we thinking? Of course not—the new regime has no intention of making adjustments to local school budgets from the Spring although we will be held strictly to the class size of 22 in core middle school classes.

            A quote from our contract, which you can find here:, pages 14 – 16.

            The plan [Shared Decision Making (SDM)] shall include a process for reaching consensus as well as a mechanism for meaningful input in setting the school's budget priorities in both the spring and fall adjustments. Proposed, individual schools‟ budgets, including projected budgetary funds for the school, in hard copy form, shall be presented to the employees, at least two (2) weeks prior to the time budgets are due in the spring, and at least two (2) days prior to the time budgets are due in the fall. Copies of the final budgets shall be made available to school members of the bargaining unit.

            May 2013: The principal convened a meeting of our Shared Decision Making Committee and said this is what we get. You have no input; the District is allocating the number of assistant principals, teachers, paraprofessionals, and clerical personnel positions our school has. SDM gets no input into the process because the district explains that they want to make everything equal for all schools.

            That ignores the fact that each school may have unique circumstances, and may have solid reasons for wanting an additional Assistant Principal or Front Office Clerk.

            Now we come to Fall 2013. My school is 50 students over the Spring projection. In previous years, we would receive extra budget dollars and would decide how to allocate that money. Do we need more teachers to reach the maximum of 22 students per class in our core academics? Or do we need to hire extra security? We had the chance to give input to the principal.

            No more. We have 50 extra students, but we do not get extra teaching positions nor do we get additional money for our school budget. We are to make it work, anyway.

            Duval County Public Schools has decided. Or in more colorful terms, Moses has come down from the mountain; read the tablets or fall into the pit.

            Go back and reread the contract quote. Hasn’t DCPS violated the employee contract? Will DTU (Duval Teachers United, our union) file a grievance?

1 comment:

  1. Here's something for you.....
    We need an additional 10 to 12 teachers. We have classes that has so many students and no where to place them because the district has decided to only provide us with 4 positions. We now have to stack classes. There are about 2300 to 2400 students on our campus. We have only 3 security persons and 3 Assistant Principals. Go figure. I don't understand how we are suppose to ensure safety.