Quolke's Corner #157 New news in the last few days that has an impact on CTU members.

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A lot of new news has come out in the last few days that has an impact on CTU members.  Here is a brief overview of some of these. 

  • On Wednesday, the State Legislature approved the addition of 4 calamity days for Ohio schools.  However, they did not pass it in the way that was originally called for by Governor Kasich.  Yesterday, both the House and the Senate approved a compromise bill that does give Ohio school districts 4 additional calamity days; however, these calamity days are only given AFTER a district has used the 5 normal calamity days, then 4 make-up days.  If a school district has gone over 10 days, then they would be able to utilize the 4 additional days.  CMSD has had 8 calamity days (for most schools – some have had more due to water or electricity issues).  However, right now it seems that the CMSD has at least 3 days that need to be made up.  I anticipate that this will be tacked on the week of June 2-6, that was identified as the make-up week in the calendar the the Board was required to submit to the state last summer.  Wednesday, Eric and I sent an email out concerning those members who are retiring this year and already submitted an irrevocable letter to retire. They will not need to make up these days and can maintain a June 1 retirement and not forfeit a month of STRS benefits.  We are still working through some of the details on the final implementation of this law.  This law was just passed Wednesday and is now going to the Governor for his anticipated approval.

 

  • Tuesday, at the Board of Education Work Session, CEO Gordon did present the Board with a calendar that would begin the 2014-2015 school year on August 11.  The school calendar is a function of the Board and they need to establish the initial calendar by May 1.  However, CTU input is required and we have begun discussions with the district and have given our concerns and input on a number of items.  Likewise, a number of schools requesting time changes also appeared before the board. While an early to mid-August start is becoming our norm, it looks like this will eliminate the 3-week gap in paychecks that we have seen over the past years.  I believe the calendar will not be voted on until the April Board meeting, leaving time for public input and discussion.  The next Board Meeting is March 25th at Mound. 

 

  • Yesterday, the Ohio Department of Education added more diagnostics that can be taken by 3rd graders in order to enable them to show reading proficiency and pass to grade 4.  I am guessing that the notion of over 1/3 of third graders failing 3rd grade as a result of one day of high stakes testing caused these new diagnostics to surface.  What they are and how they would be implemented is still sketchy.  We are working with the Ohio Federation of Teachers to get more information and details that we will share with you as soon as we get them.

In Union,

David