The Glendale Unified school board on Tuesday authorized the district to move forward with the federal Race to the Top grant application that could bring $40 million to the district, but with just days left until the Oct. 30 deadline, an agreement has yet to be reached with the teachers union over the terms of the grant.
“We are still very hopeful that we will be getting a signature from our GTA president,” said Supt. Dick Sheehan during Tuesday’s board meeting.
Glendale Teachers Assn. President Tami Carlson has yet to sign off on the application after several rounds of negotiations over the implications of the grant money, particularly over a requirement that student test scores be factored into teacher job evaluations.
“GTA told the district we would be willing to sign the grant if they would have written assurances that teachers would be compensated for the increased workload outlined in the proposal,” Carlson said.
Additionally, the bargaining team sought to maintain their ability to negotiate school calendar days and understand how standardized test scores would be weighted in teacher evaluations.
Carlson said they also wanted to assure that teacher specialists hired with grant funds would work with students in the classroom.
“We asked them to write something up with those things in it so when we sit down to negotiate these things, we’d start from there,” Carlson said. “They refused.”
In one proposal, the district offered to rescind the five furlough days on the books for 2013-14 if the district wins the grant and if either Proposition 30 or 38 were to pass. But Carlson said that agreement had already been brought to the table.
The union then submitted a counter-proposal Tuesday asking to keep teachers’ health benefits at the current cap for two years and refrain from layoffs.
“The greater good is keeping teachers in the classroom with kids and keeping health benefits affordable so teachers can go to the doctor,” Carlson said.
District officials planned to submit their latest counter-proposal to the union by the end of Wednesday, according to Maria Gandera, assistant superintendent of human resources.
The district could finish working on the grant application by the end of Friday before mailing it to the Department of Education in Washington, D.C. with the three signatures of Sheehan, Carlson and school board President Christine Walters in mandatory blue ink.
“I’m still optimistic.” Gandera said.
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