When the Cleveland Teachers Union and the Cleveland Mayor’s office reached an agreement on a package of legislation that would significantly change how the Cleveland schools operate, Union President David Quolke said the plan is not perfect, but shows the union and the mayor’s office can work together.
Today, we see the initial results of that collaboration.
The sponsors of the paired state Senate and House legislation announced today that they’re reintroducing new versions of the legislation: House Bill 525 and Senate Bill 335. the new bills are expected to be referred this week to committees for hearings to be scheduled next week, the House Republican Caucus says.
And tomorrow, four education advocacy groups (including StudentsFirst, the Black Alliance for Educational Options, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools and School Choice Ohio) and the Diocese of Cleveland will hold a Columbus press conference to say they support the revised Cleveland Plan.
The revised plan gives the district more power in shutting down failing schools. It bases teacher layoffs on merit and uses seniority as a tie-breaker instead of as the sole factor. It creates a new salary schedule that takes into account performance and training.
The revised plan also removes provisions that would have exempted the nonprofit group that would oversee the implementation of the Cleveland Plan from state public records and open meetings laws. Here’s what those parts of the House bill look like now:
(C)(1) A majority of the members of the board of directors of the alliance shall constitute a quorum of the board. Any formal action taken by the board of directors shall take place at a meeting of the board and shall require the concurrence of a majority of the members of the board. Meetings of the board of directors shall be public meetings open to the public at all times, except that the board may hold an executive session for any of the purposes for which an executive session of a public body is permitted under division (G) of section 121.22 of the Revised Code. The board of directors shall establish reasonable methods whereby any person may determine the time and place of all of the board’s public meetings and by which any person, upon request, may obtain reasonable advance notification of the board’s public meetings. Provisions for that advance notification may include, but are not limited to, mailing notices to all subscribers on a mailing list or mailing notices in self-addressed, stamped envelopes provided by the person.
(2) All records of the alliance shall be organized and maintained by the alliance and also filed with the department of education. The alliance and the department shall make those records available to the public as though those records were public records for purposes of Chapter 149. of the Revised Code. The department shall promptly notify the alliance upon the department’s receipt of any requests for records relating to the alliance pursuant to section 149.43 of the Revised Code.
One major area missing from that list of agreed changes is sharing local tax dollars with some charter schools. On that issue, Cleveland Teachers Union President David Quolke says, “We have agreed to disagree.”