GUSD grant application still on hold

With less than two weeks remaining until Glendale Unified officials must submit an application for a federal grant that could net up to $40 million, they have yet to reach an agreement with the teachers union over a provision that would require student test scores to be a factor in job evaluations.

District officials said this week they are optimistic that a deal will reached with the union — which must sign off on the application in time for submittal before the Oct. 30 deadline.

Glendale Teachers Assn. President Tami Carlson did not attend the latest round of negotiations Tuesday because she was ill with the flu, said Maria Gandera, assistant superintendent of human resources.

During the school board meeting Tuesday, Gandera described the discussions with six members of the union's bargaining team as “very productive.”

The next round of negotiations is slated for Oct. 23.

In response to the negotiation meeting, Carlson said in an email that district officials did not provide information “regarding how teachers who exceed standards on their evaluations would be rewarded as required by the grant.”

“The district claims there will not be merit pay, but has not provided any information on how they will reward teachers if not [through] merit pay,” Carlson said.

The potential of union leaders withholding their support for the application — which would effectively kill Glendale Unified's chances for the competitive Race to the Top grant — has spurred some conflict between teachers and Carlson.

Earlier this month, Hoover High School teacher Mary Anna Pomonis initiated an online campaign calling for teachers to persuade Carlson to sign the grant despite the requirement that standardized test scores be folded into the teacher evaluation process.

Officials this week said 900 school districts nationwide and 80 in California offered initial “letters of intent” to apply for a chunk of the $400 million that would be split among 15 to 25 winning applicants.

Glendale Unified Deputy Supt. John Garcia said several businesses and organizations have written letters of support, including Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), Art Center College of Design, UCLA and USC.

Follow Kelly on Twitter @kellymcorrigan.

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