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    District compromises with teachers over school time dispute

    The controversy in the Albany Unified School District over school time took another turn last week. The District decided to freeze a recent Board resolution on the issue after negotiations with the Albany Teachers’ Association.

    “It’s a compromise,” said Board President David Glasser. “We decided that it’s in the best interest of the district after we weighed alternatives. ”

    The School Board passed a resolution to increase school time at three elementary schools in Feburary after a number of fierce debates. Many teachers passionately opposed the decision. The Albany Teachers’ Associaton called on its members to participate in protest actions in early March.

    “ATA members will no longer attend after school committee meetings unless monetary compensation is received, ” the Assocation said in a leaflet it distributed to teachers.

    Many teachers have stopped attending Site Council or curriculum meetings since then, according to Loring Barker, President of the ATA.

    “We’ve already done so much work beyond contracted time… but the Board did not respect us and insisted on adding an extra 20 minutes,” Barker said.

    Glasser said that the District is allowed to increase the school time without teachers’ agreement, according to his understanding of the current contract. But it might take the district a couple of years to go through labor arbitration procedures to solve the dispute. Thus the Board and district administrators decided to table the issue till the next contract negotiation, which is about two years away.

    “We didn’t agree to take it (the Board resolution) back, ” said Boardmember Ron Rosenbaum. “We agreed not to do anything about it until the next negotiation starts.”

    He added that the Board made the decision because handling budget crisis is its top priority right now.

    Four Boardmembers approved a memorandum of understanding between the District and the Teachers’ Assocation on shelving the dispute at a closed-door meeting last Tuesday. Glasser announced the action at a public meeting shortly afterwards.

    Article by Linjun Fan.

    Here are some earlier stories on the dispute published on Albany Today:

    Albany parents split over staggered reading program

    Albany school district in the course of changing a “core bargain”

    Board votes to increase school time and improve after-school program

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