Wednesday, November 3, 2010

First Negotiated Meeting with Superintendent Newbold

I attended my first meeting with Superintendent Newbold per our negotiated agreement.  We discussed several issues, but I believe two of them are most pertinent for teachers.

I asked about the possibility of additional year-round schools being moved to a traditional calendar for next school year.  The Year-Round Policy Manual states that principals will be notified of the possibility eight months in advance, which is this month.  Superintendent Newbold stated that the District looked closely at all year-round schools last year, and he doesn't think there are any that have the housing capacity to sustain the move to a traditional calendar.  He said that if there is a "significant budget deficit" again and the District does have to move school schedules, schools may not find out until the spring.  He also stated that this would not be the first place the District would look for money to fill a deficit hole.

The other issue relating directly to teachers working conditions is on meetings with angry parents.  Superintendent Newbold recognizes that these types of meetings are more likely to occur due to the social environment in which we find ourselves.  If parents do not like what they hear from a principal, they will often go to their School Board member.  The School Board members wonder why teachers will not meet with parents and then tell the teacher to meet with the parents. 

A couple of suggestions for these types of meetings.  If you know in advance, ask to meet with your principal for five minutes prior to the meeting.  Ask your principal about the following:
  • What does the parent wish to discuss?
  • What is the objective of the meeting?  What is the intended outcome?
  • Are you (the principal) on my side?  Will you support my position?
Parents need to hear that the principal supports the teacher's position.  Sometimes, if the teacher's position is opposed to the school position or the District position, the principal should tell you that before the meeting with the parent.

If you are called to the office to meet with an angry parent without notice, you have the right to ask for the meeting to be rescheduled for another time.  You also have the right to take JEA representation with you to the meeting.  The representative could be your building AR, another teacher who is a JEA member, or someone from the JEA office.  Laura and Cindy will be presenting helpful information on this topic to AR's at the next meeting on November 17.

Superintendent Newbold and I have scheduled these meetings through May, though I will start meeting with the Interim Superintendent in January.  In addition, the new committee negotiated will begin functioning in January with the Interim Superintendent.


  1. Jennifer, were you able to talk with him about why they are requiring special ed to pay for lanes/steps instead of it coming out of the federal money?

  2. Renee,

    I did ask about this issue. He said that as long as he has been superintendent and for the years prior when he was in District administration, Special Education has always been funded separately. This is standard practice. I know that doesn't help the situation, but that is how salary for Special Ed. has been handled in the past.

  3. I understand that. The problem is that Special Ed didn't budget for to cover lanes and steps. I don't understand why they can't use some of the stimulus money to help this year. They already took a big hit. That stimulus money is why they gave lane/steps. There needed to be consideration.

  4. I see your position. Superintendent Newbold said that Beth has not approached him about additional funding. If the Special Ed. budget won't cover, she should request a specific amount of additional funding.