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Cleveland Teachers Approve New Contract with Cleveland Schools

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 4:26 PM

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Cleveland teachers have approved a new three year contract with the Cleveland School District. ideastream intern Michelle Kanu reports hundreds of laid off teachers may soon have their jobs back.

The vote ends months of negotiations between the union and the Cleveland School District.

David Quolke, President of the Cleveland Teacher’s Union, says 82% of members voted in favor of the contract.

Quolke “I think our members--with this vote--showed they understand the harsh realities of the economic times.  They want to get moving forward, working with the district, to really make the schools successful again.”

In April, District CEO Eugene Sanders laid off over 500 teachers and proposed pay cuts in efforts to make up for the district’s $50 million budget gap.  Base pay stays the same under the new agreement, but it will eliminate paid training days and increase teachers’ health insurance costs. 

Quolke says the savings will allow the district to recall 400 teachers – possibly more if other positions open up in the district.

Quolke: “We expect those recalls to begin, if the board ratifies this contract, on August 16th.”

The agreement also calls for the union and the district to work together to create a better system for evaluating teachers.  Quolke acknowledges that’s important in helping the state secure federal dollars. 

Yesterday, Ohio was selected as a finalist in the Race to the Top competition, a program designed to reward states that make big improvements to their schools.  One of the requirements is greater emphasis on performance as a factor in retaining and promoting teachers. 

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