Posted Date: 04/10/2018
I met with a coalition of teachers and our local OEA leadership yesterday afternoon. We agreed on a walkin plan to resume classes Thursday, April 12. This was not an easy decision, and I commend teachers for weighing out pros and cons to coming back home and bringing students back to school. The reasons for resuming classes on Thursday are
Hourly employees run out of "banked" work days this Thursday. If we were to extend the walkout beyond Wednesday of this week, we would need to send hourly employees home without pay. From the beginning, teachers fought for better pay and conditions for support employees. Teachers agreeing to resume classes this Thursday directly relates to their care and concern for the amazing support employees they work alongside each day.
The district runs out of scheduled Fridays off Wednesday, April 11. Any day the walkout continues after Wednesday means the district would need to extend the school year or add minutes to the day. Teachers expressed wanting to come back to school without burdening our families with extra minutes or extra days on the calendar as a way to show how much they appreciate the support. We used every day we had to lead this effort. After Wednesday, we reach a point of possible diminishing returns.
Our community has been in full support, but we have begun to see the tide turn. I received more negative phone calls on Monday. After all we have done to remain unified as a district and a community, teachers expressed wanting to come back to the classroom with community and school spirit strong.
THIS FIGHT IS NOT OVER. Although we are coming back to the classroom, it doesn't mean we are giving in. I have agreed to send a delegation for Thursday and Friday and possibly next week if needed. Teachers agreed to remain vigilant and active in their advocacy long after the walkout ends. We will continue to push hard tomorrow and Wednesday.
This will keep our last day of school for students as May 24. We will adjust the calendar to reflect May 4, 11, and 18 as days in school.
I am so proud of the way Duncan teachers have conducted themselves in this movement. I hope we can continue to be unified as we look for ways to engage in the fight ahead.
I ask for your lasting support of our teachers as we shift our advocacy strategy. Duncan teachers are the most courageous people I know. The decision to resume classes requires as much encouragement as the decision to walkout. Teachers will begin focusing on educating the community about rising efforts to stop the teacher raises. Schools will post details about their testing calendars soon. Look for more information in the days ahead.