Teachers See Concerns in Proposed Contract
Members of the district’s staff unions filled the school board meeting on Monday.
The mood was a bit tense at the Brecksville-Broadview Heights Board of Education meeting Monday night.
About 70 people filled the small meeting room in the district’s education center, the crowd lining the walls and spilling out into the hallways. Many in attendance were members of the teacher and support staff unions, there to show their concern over the board’s proposed contracts for teachers. The board and the union are currently in contract negotiations.
And the board took some time from the meeting to address rumors: rumors that the district planned to shift special education services to the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center, that the district doesn’t think teachers should make enough money to live in Brecksville, and that teaching isn’t a real job. Board President David Tryon read from a statement, rejecting the rumors and reassuring the community that the board stands behind its teachers.
“The Board of Education appreciates the teachers and their hard work,” Tryon said.
Many of those teachers sat in the audience, wearing stickers on their shirts reading “Ask Me About My Number.” Brecksville-Broadview Heights Education Association President Bonnie Monteleone said the numbers referred to numbers that members were concerned about in the board’s proposed contract, like changes in health care or a decrease in planning time.
That latter point is one that particularly concerns Monteleone. Right now, many teachers have 400 minutes a week to plan lessons and interact with students. The new proposal would drop that down to 200 minutes a week.
“It’s a race to the bottom, or a minimum standard,” Monteleone said, noting that the district has not tried to work toward the bottom of the standards in the past.
Ben Lesh, a high school teacher who is serving as a “crisis chair” for the union, said Monday’s meeting gave members the chance to let the board members know that they have the union’s attention—and that they’re concerned. Union members did not speak during the public comment session. As a crisis chair, Lesh will help to get the group’s message out to the public.
Tryon said he was glad the teachers attended the meeting, and that the board welcomes their thoughts and comments as the negotiations move forward.
The current contract runs out at the end of June. The district, which has been working to become more transparent, has made the proposed contracts available to the public by posting them on its new negotiation news website.