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January 21, 2006

Administrator and Teacher Contracts - Timing and Position do Seem to Matter

Teachers sign their contracts for the next year usually in March - however, this is not a guarantee of a job for next year. Teachers can still be surplused or laid off from their jobs. The process for this is governed by their MTI contract.

Surplusing teachers effects the school budget the next school year, so there is an "immediate" effect upon the number of teachers, upon the district's educational resources available for children's learning and upon the budget's bottom line. This is different for MMSD personnel on administrative contracts. Administrative contracts are in most cases two-year rolling contracts, except as stated in the Human Resources (HR) policy , so the financial effect of reducing administrative positions that are filled can take up to 18 months to be reflected in the budget. Wouldn't this reduce the Board's decisionmaking authority during the budget process and potentially put an additional burden of budget cuts on teachers, psychologists, social workers, custodians, etc.?

Does this mean that administrative employees on a two-year rolling contract have 18 months to retrain/to apply for an open position in MMSD or to find a new job while still keeping their current job and getting paid if their contract is not extended. WI law governs some of the policy in place, but I don’t know how much of MMSD’s policy is required by state law, and I don’t know if state law requires contracts for all administrative personnel.

For MMSD administrators, the administrative rules governing their contracts are contained in MMSD HR Policy 2.06 . There is no School Board policy that I could find on administrative contracts. Perhaps one is necessary to clarify a number of issues and to set policy/direction for the district.

The current HR policy on administrative contracts states: “An administrator who has been issued a two-year contract and whose performance is satisfactory shall be issued a one-year contract extension in the spring of each year, thereby creating a two-year rolling contract, except an administrator may not receive a two-year contract if the District is considering reorganization, reassignment, reduction in force or other personnel action that may result in the elimination of the administrator’s position.” Does that give the School Board the flexibility to hold on giving contract extensions to administrators at this point in the budget process. Holding on a contract extension is much different than a non-renewal notice. Which applies at the end of the month?

Teachers, custodians, social workers are covered by their union contracts. These personnel are paid for the year they worked, and these provisions are based upon collective bargaining. If these district personnel are laid off and not rehired into an open position, they do not receive pay after their contract ends.

If the administration feels all staffing is cut to the bone, maybe the school board needs to begin working on multi-year strategies. I'm concerned about relying on the state or referenda to pull us through, and this effort might make the needs/issues more transparent to the public.

Perhaps the School Board and its personnel committees would spend more time during the year talking about staffing strategies. This seems to me to be especially important to continue to do in these extremely tight financial times.

Additional information on surplus and layoff contract dates:

Teachers are often given surplus notices, usually in April, which can be a partial up to a 100% surplus from their job. Surplus notices can be given until July 1 (I think this is the date without checking the contract). These surplus notices often are based upon the budget cut proposed to the School Board, which always proceeds the budget before the School Board and seems to me to be the only focus in the budget once that list is made public.

Layoff notices can be given to teachers no later than 10 days before the end of the school year. While there is no contract language for administrators, a corresponding approach would be not to extend administrative contracts.

Barb Schrank, parent, artist, blogger
spouse of Madison school teacher
treasurer, Mathiak for School Board

Posted by at January 21, 2006 5:29 PM
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