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March 7, 2012

Madison School District "Handbook" must make students top priority

Chris Rickert:

Assuming Democrats aren't able to take over state government early next year and reinstate full-fledged public sector collective bargaining, we're talking about the replacement of some 400 pages of detailed contract language for five district bargaining units.

Madison teachers union-backed board candidates Arlene Silveira, an incumbent, and Michael Flores have indicated to the union that they would essentially be OK with the handbook becoming the collective bargaining agreements by another name.

Mary Burke, who is running against Flores, and Nichelle Nichols, who is challenging Silveira, have not.

"One of the most important needed changes is the use of student learning as a component of a teacher's evaluation," Burke told me, while Nichols predicted that employee evaluations, compensation practices and a longer school day or year are likely to be contentious handbook topics.

Silveira told me she'd like the handbook to allow for more flexible scheduling, possibly including more classroom time.

Whatever the specifics of the final product, though, it's unlikely to be anything but a fair -- if not a better-than-fair -- deal for employees. Madison, with its public worker union sympathies, won't stand for anything less.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at March 7, 2012 1:16 AM
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