Update May 1, 2013
Florida has held all teachers and administrators accountable for increased student performance for several years. Students have met the challenge as policy makers have raised expectations and standards. Simultaneously, school district employees have suffered financially as we coped with the most significant recession since the Great Depression.
FASA wants to thank the Governor and the Legislature for including $480 million for teacher and school based administrators' salary raises. We are told that the FEFP increases can provide similar increases for other teachers and district administrators. By tomorrow, the Legislature must determine the criteria for salary increases.
Your IMMEDIATE ACTION is essential. Email or call the Senate and House Chairmen listed below and express your opinion with the following:
Tell them you are contacting them regarding the criteria for salary increases.
Give them you name and district.
Thank them for including the appropriation for raises.
Suggest they make the criteria flexible for districts to negotiate and distribute the $480 million beginning IMMEDIATELY.
Ask that they allow districts to use current data to determine salary increases.
Thank them again for their attention to this issue.
Senate: Sen. Negron
House: Rep. McKeel
Updated April 29, 2013
UPDATE April 29: Lawmakers have set aside a total of $480 million for the raises, which would go into effect in June of next year. The money can also be used to increase the pay for principals, librarians and guidance counselors. How the money is distributed still needs to be worked out. A plan will be developed and the guidelines are to reward a teacher ranked as effective with a $2,500 raise. One ranked as highly effective would be eligible for as much as a $3,500 increase.
Updated April 25, 2013
We continue to meet and discuss the issue of principal appointments with the district. Progress on this issue has unfortunately been extremely slow.
We continue to actively pursue both legal and political resolution on behalf of all of our members and intend to have a complete resolution to this matter in the very near future!
Much work is happening behind the scenes and we are committed to representing and fighting for our members rights as well as to being fairness to the process of re-appointments for the future!
Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions .
April 22, 2013
Sen. Bill Galvano, right, and Rep. Erik Fresen talk about the education budget after the Sunday afternoon meeting of House-Senate conferees.
Photo by Bill Cotterell.
Gov. Rick Scott lists two priorities for the 2013 legislative session and one is a $2,500 raise for public schoolteachers. Scott consistently credits public schools for his success in life. Scott recommends $18.47 billion in state spending for public schools, and a per-student funding increase for K-12 of 6.45 percent to an average of $6,800. He included $1 billion in early learning funds, $100 million for digital learning initiatives, $74.9 million for school safety programs, and more money for teachers to purchase classroom supplies.
Lawmakers are willing to spend more education but the questions are how much and where. Scott's idea of an across-the-board pay raise for teachers initially was not well received by a Legislature committed to performance-based funding and merit increases, but their budgets show give on that issue. House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz support digital learning initiatives.
UPDATE April 22, 2013: The House and Senate appear close to closing out negotiations on an education budget but still disagree on whether college, university and workforce training students should pay more in tuition. The Senate’s counteroffer Monday morning did not include a 4 percent tuition increase.
Among the other unresolved items are allocations for virtual education contribution in the FEFP formula and the Bright Futures scholarships.
Negotiators have agreed to budget $480 million for a teacher pay raise and are working on proviso language to tie it to performance. Earlier Monday Gov. Rick Scott reiterated his position that the pay increase should go to all teachers with no strings attached.
“We need to do an across-the-board $2,500 teacher pay raise -- each and every one of our classroom teachers -- our K-12 school system is doing an outstanding job,” Scott said after signing an education bill (SB 1076) at the Capitol. “The right thing to do is reward our teachers with this pay raise.”
Senate Education Committee Chairman Bill Galvano said for the most part, lawmakers are giving the governor what he wants. However, he said, when handing out raises, Tallahassee has to work through local school districts.
“You have the collective bargaining matrix to go through, the districts are going to weigh in; what we did is take in good faith the calculation that the governor’s office did, that is how we got to the $480 million, but our proviso maintains some district discretion that ties it to performance,” Galvano said.” And whether or not that turns out to be $2,500 raise per teacher that is not unlikely, but it should for the most part accomplish what he wants to accomplish.”
UPDATE April 21, 2013: The House, at the 4:15 p.m. Sunday meeting, made significant compromises in a second offer to the Senate on the state education budget. House negotiators have accepted the Senate offer to spend $480 million on teacher pay raises, but are not budging from its position that any increase be tied to performance.
“We’ve been trying to figure out what the amount was with the Senate and to make sure there was a merit-based component. I think we’re going to get there,” said House Education Chairman Rep. Erik Fresen. “It is going to be used for teacher salary increases and it will have a methodology that includes merit and make sure that commitment to merit stays in place.”
The details of how a raise would be implemented are still to be worked out.
“We’ll get to that in the proviso” said Sen. Bill Galvano, chair of the Senate Education Committee. “I think we both are on the same page regarding a performance-based distribution.”
The House and Senate are still divided on a variety of strategic statewide initiatives. The House is holding firm on its proposal to spend $7.5 million on an autism program which the Senate hasn’t budgeted.
However, the House is now proposing a 4 percent tuition increase for university and college students.
The two sides will continue negotiations through Tuesday, when unresolved issues will be bumped up to the Appropriations chairmen to resolve.
UPDATE April 21, 2013: House and Senate negotiators working on an education budget remain divided on whether to increase tuition and how to deliver a pay raise to teachers. The House supports a 6 percent tuition increase for university students while the Senate followed Gov. Rick Scott’s position and included no increase in its proposal.
The House budgeted $676 million that districts could use for a teacher pay raise. The Senate proposed $480 million for performance-based increases.
UPDATE April 19, 2013: House and Senate education leaders began budget negotiations Friday afternoon with the House agreeing to spend $22 million on the Career and Professional Education Act. The proposal enabling high school students to acquire industry certification and to create performance-based funding options for adult education programs, colleges and universities is a priority of Senate President Don Gaetz.
Both chambers agree to provide $15 million to both UF and FSU to use to achieve preeminent university status, but remain divided on how to provide pay raises to public school teachers. The Senate allocates $480 million for salary increases. The House counters with $676 million for optional district salary increases.
The Senate is expected to submit a counteroffer later this afternoon. The Conference Committee on Education will continue negotiations through the weekend. Unresolved items will be bumped up to the budget chairmen Tuesday.
April 19th, 2013
SB 980/Administrator Assessment
SB 980 was amended on April 4 and received a favorable vote in the Sen. Ed. Appropriations Subcommittee. The amendment addressed the concerns with the current application of performance pay, assessment and retention statute and rules. Companion bill HB 7141 has matching language and has gone through 2nd reading.
SB 980 was referred to the full Appropriations committee on April 8th. It appears that there are 2 more Appropriations meetings remaining in session. It is vitally important to school principals and assistant principals that SB 980 is heard in the Appropriations Committee and is placed on the Senate calendar.
FASA, FADSS and other parties of interest were contacted yesterday. The situation is approaching a critical stage. Progress has been made on ameliorating the situation with current assessments of school principals and assistant principals. However, SB 980 has not been scheduled for its next committee stop, the Senate Appropriations Committee.
It is important that the members of the Appropriations Committee hear from people outside of Tallahassee that this bill is vital to avoid the dismissal of hundreds of school principals and assistant principals in A and B schools throughout the state of Florida.
I have attached the contact information for the Senate Appropriations Committee members, as well as the chairs and vice chairs of House and Senate education committees. Please contact members of the Appropriations Committee to ensure SB 980 is heard and placed on the Senate calendar -- time is of the essence.
The next meeting of the Appropriations Committee is Tuesday, April 22nd. The committee agenda will be finalized no later than the morning of the 21st.
2013 Senate Committee on Appropriations
3500 SW Corporate Parkway, Suite 204 Palm City, FL 34990
FAX (772) 219-1666
412 Senate Office Building 404 South Monroe Street Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100 (850) 487-5032
1926 Victoria Avenue, 2nd Floor Ft. Myers, FL 33901
330 Senate Office Building 404 South Monroe Street Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100 (850) 487-5030
1919 Atlantic Boulevard Jacksonville, FL 32207 (904) 346-5039
302 Senate Office Building 404 South Monroe Street Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100 (850) 487-5004
FAX (850) 410-4805
Updated April 14th, 2013
The Senate Education Committee passed Sen. Stargel's parent trigger bill out of committee this week with an amendment by Sen. Simmons that gives the final say to local school boards on which turn around option to implement. If the school improves by at least one grade then the turn around option selected by the school board will be final. This puts the bill in line with the House bill which passed. The bill goes to the Appropriations Committee this week.
The House & Senate passed out their respective budgets this week both with funding for teacher salaries & with language in the House to provide flexibility to include school administrators. The Senate has appointed their conferees which include: Galvano, Legg, Thrasher, Montford, Bullard, Detert & Sachs. The House conferees have not yet been appointed.
Below is a status of other bills following:
Sorted by Bill Number
Relating to Student Assessment Program for Public Schools Diaz (M)
Student Assessment Program for Public Schools: Requires school district to establish & approve testing & reporting schedules for district-mandated assessments & publish schedules on website; requires reporting of schedules to DOE. Effective Date: July 1, 2013
4/4/2013 HOUSE Read Third Time; Passed (Vote: 116 Yeas / 0 Nays)
4/11/2013 SENATE In Messages
4/12/2013 SENATE Referred to Education; Appropriations Subcommittee on Education; Appropriations
Relating to School District Educational Programs Clarke-Reed
School District Educational Programs: Requires that school district be given specified lead time to plan & budget for implementation of certain new state requirements. Effective Date: July 1, 2013
12/26/2012 HOUSE Filed
1/11/2013 HOUSE Referred to K-12 Subcommittee; Education Appropriations Subcommittee; Education Committee
1/11/2013 HOUSE Now in K-12 Subcommittee
Relating to Student Assessment in the Public Schools Campbell
Student Assessment in the Public Schools: Terminates administration of FCAT to students in grades 9-12; requires specified standardized tests to replace grade 10 FCAT for purposes of measuring student's knowledge & skills; requires students to earn passing scores to qualify for standard high school diploma; requires use of student performance on tests for school grading purposes. Effective Date: July 1, 2013
1/11/2013 HOUSE Referred to K-12 Subcommittee; Education Appropriations Subcommittee; Rulemaking Oversight & Repeal Subcommittee; Education Committee
1/11/2013 HOUSE Now in K-12 Subcommittee
1/11/2013 HOUSE Withdrawn prior to introduction
Relating to Maximum Class Size Moraitis
Maximum Class Size: Calculates school district's class size categorical allocation reduction at school average when maximum class size requirements are not met. Effective Date: July 1, 2013
3/25/2013 HOUSE On Committee agenda - Education Committee, 03/27/13, 1:00 pm, 102 H
3/27/2013 HOUSE Favorable by Education Committee; 17 Yeas, 1 Nay
3/27/2013 HOUSE Placed on Calendar, on 2nd reading
Relating to Exceptional Student Education Brodeur
Exceptional Student Education: Provides requirements for parent meetings with school district personnel relating to ESE & services; provides terms relating to instructional settings; requires use of parental consent forms for actions in student's IEP; provides requirements for certain changes in IEP; encourages public & private instructional personnel collaboration; provides requirements for renewal of professional certificate relating to teaching students with disabilities. Effective Date: July 1, 2013
4/9/2013 HOUSE Favorable with CS by Education Committee; 15 Yeas, 0 Nays
4/10/2013 HOUSE Committee Substitute Text (C3) Filed
4/11/2013 HOUSE Placed on Calendar, on 2nd reading
Relating to Student Assessment Program for Public Schools Flores
Student Assessment Program for Public Schools; Requiring each school district to establish and approve testing schedules for district-required assessments and publish the schedules on its website, etc. Effective Date: July 1, 2013
1/25/2013 SENATE Filed
2/4/2013 SENATE Referred to Education; Appropriations Subcommittee on Education; Appropriations
Relating to Publicly-funded Defined Benefit Retirement Plans Brandes
Publicly-funded Defined Benefit Retirement Plans; Deleting the requirement that required actuarial reports for retirement plans include a disclosure of the present value of the plan’s benefits; providing that the state is not liable for shortfalls in local government retirement systems or plans; requiring a defined benefit system or plan to report certain information to the Department of Management Services by a certain date; requiring the plan sponsor to make certain information available on certain websites; requiring the department to provide a fact sheet specifying certain information, etc. Effective Date: July 1, 2013
4/5/2013 SENATE Placed on Special Order Calendar, 04/10/13
4/10/2013 SENATE Read Second Time
4/11/2013 SENATE Read Third Time; Passed (Vote: 22 Yeas / 18 Nays)
Relating to Parent Empowerment in Education Stargel
Parent Empowerment in Education; Providing that parents who have a student in a public school that is implementing a turnaround option may petition to have a particular turnaround option implemented; requiring the school district to notify parents of a public school student being taught by an out-of-field teacher or by a teacher with an unsatisfactory performance rating; creating the Parent Empowerment Act; requiring the school district to consider the turnaround option on the valid petition with the most signatures at a publicly noticed school board meeting, etc. Effective Date: July 1, 2013
4/2/2013 SENATE Now in Appropriations Subcommittee on Education
4/8/2013 SENATE On Committee agenda - Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, 04/11/13, 8:30 am, 412 K
4/11/2013 SENATE Favorable with CS by Appropriations Subcommittee on Education; 8 Yeas, 4 Nays
Relating to School Personnel Performance Evaluation Castor Dentel
School Personnel Performance Evaluation: Revises provisions relating to measurement of student learning growth for purposes of evaluating classroom & nonclassroom instructional personnel; prohibits employee from being penalized for unsatisfactory performance based on certain student learning growth data. Effective Date: July 1, 2013
2/19/2013 HOUSE Filed
2/28/2013 HOUSE Referred to K-12 Subcommittee; Education Appropriations Subcommittee; Education Committee
2/28/2013 HOUSE Now in K-12 Subcommittee
Relating to Public School Personnel Flores
Public School Personnel; Providing requirements for the performance evaluation of personnel for purposes of the performance salary schedule, etc. Effective Date: July 1, 2013
4/1/2013 SENATE On Committee agenda - Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, 04/04/13, 8:30 am, 412 K
4/4/2013 SENATE Favorable with CS by Appropriations Subcommittee on Education; 11 Yeas, 1 Nay
4/8/2013 SENATE Now in Appropriations
Relating to Exceptional Student Education Gardiner
Exceptional Student Education; Prohibiting certain actions with respect to parent meetings with school district personnel; requiring a school district to provide exceptional student education-related services to certain home education program students; requiring a district school board to provide parents with information regarding the funding the school district receives for exceptional student education; requiring the use of parental consent forms for specified actions in a student’s individual education plan, etc. Effective Date: July 1, 2013
3/22/2013 SENATE On Committee agenda - Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, 03/27/13, 9:30 am, 412 K
3/27/2013 SENATE Favorable by Appropriations Subcommittee on Education; 11 Yeas, 0 Nays
3/27/2013 SENATE Now in Appropriations
Relating to Charter Schools Adkins
Charter Schools: Revises various provisions relating to charter schools, including submission of application, charter contracts, sponsor duties, charter termination, student enrollment, training & membership of governing board, employee contracts, services, & school district authority; revises criteria for classification as high-performing charter school & charter school system; revises provisions relating to allocation of capital outlay funds for charter schools. Effective Date: July 1, 2013
3/3/2013 HOUSE Filed
3/8/2013 HOUSE Referred to Choice & Innovation Subcommittee; Education Appropriations Subcommittee; Education Committee
3/8/2013 HOUSE Now in Choice & Innovation Subcommittee
Relating to Charter Schools Stargel
Charter Schools; Requiring policies agreed to by the sponsor and charter school to be incorporated into the charter contract; authorizing a charter school operated by a Florida College System institution to serve students in kindergarten through grade 12; prohibiting the governing board or other related entity of a charter school subject to a corrective action plan or financial recovery plan from applying to open an additional charter school; restricting expenditures upon nonrenewal or termination of a charter school; revising requirements for classification as a high-performing charter school system, etc. Effective Date: July 1, 2013
4/1/2013 SENATE Favorable with CS by Education; 7 Yeas, 2 Nays
4/3/2013 SENATE Committee Substitute Text (C1) Filed
4/4/2013 SENATE Now in Judiciary
Relating to Retirement Simpson
Retirement; Providing that a member initially enrolled in the Florida Retirement System after a certain date is vested in the pension plan after 10 years of creditable service; prohibiting members of the Elected Officers’ Class from joining the Senior Management Service Class after a specified date; requiring certain employees initially enrolled in the Florida Retirement System on or after a specified date to be compulsory members of the investment plan; authorizing certain employees to elect to participate in the pension plan, rather than the default investment plan, within a specified time, etc. Effective Date: July 1, 2014
3/28/2013 SENATE Favorable with CS by Appropriations; 14 Yeas, 5 Nays
4/1/2013 SENATE Committee Substitute Text (C2) Filed
4/2/2013 SENATE Placed on Calendar, on 2nd reading
Relating to Charter Schools Bean
Charter Schools; Authorizing the Commissioner of Education, with the approval of the State Board of Education, to authorize a school district to apply to establish a charter school under certain circumstances; revising the requirements for a charter school application; revising provisions requiring charter school compliance with statutes relating to education personnel compensation, contracts, and performance evaluations and workforce reductions; requiring the commissioner to annually review a high-performing charter school system’s eligibility for high-performing status, etc. Effective Date: July 1, 2013
3/6/2013 SENATE Referred to Education; Appropriations Subcommittee on Education; Appropriations
3/13/2013 SENATE On Committee agenda - Education, 03/18/13, 3:30 pm, 412 K - Workshop
3/18/2013 SENATE Workshopped by Education
Relating to Florida Retirement System Governmental Oversight and Accountability
Florida Retirement System; Revising the employer contribution rates for the retiree health insurance subsidy; revising the required employer retirement contribution rates for members of each membership class and subclass of the Florida Retirement System, etc. Effective Date: July 1, 2013
4/12/2013 HOUSE Read Third Time; Passed (Vote: 113 Yeas / 2 Nays)
4/12/2013 HOUSE Refused to concur, acceded to request for conference committee; Immediately certified
4/12/2013 SENATE In returning messages
Relating to Charter Schools Choice & Innovation Subcommittee
Charter Schools: Revises various provisions relating to charter schools, including charter contracts, disclosure requirements, submission of applications, charter renewals & termination, student enrollment, compliance with law, reimbursement of federal funds, & use of school district facilities; revises criteria for classification as high-performing charter school & charter school system & requires annual review thereof. Effective Date: July 1, 2013
4/4/2013 HOUSE Engrossed Text (E2) Filed
4/11/2013 SENATE In Messages
4/12/2013 SENATE Referred to Education; Judiciary; Appropriations Subcommittee on Education; Appropriations
Relating to Florida Retirement System Government Operations Subcommittee
Florida Retirement System: Limits ability of members of optional retirement program to transfer to FRS; provides for compulsory membership in FRS Investment Plan for employees initially enrolled after specified date; provides for compulsory membership in investment plan for certain employees; prohibits certain membership in Senior Management Service Class or Senior Management Service Optional Annuity Program; provides that certain participants in optional retirement program for State University System have choice between optional retirement program & FRS Investment Plan; requires SBA to develop investment products to be offered in investment plan; requires SBA to provide self-directed brokerage account as investment option; requires state board to contract with provider to provide self-directed brokerage account investment option; provides self-directed brokerage account requirements; deletes obligation of system employers to communicate existence of both retirement plans; provides additional death benefit to specified members of the Special Risk Class; limits disability benefits to eligible members; adjusts required employer contribution rates for unfunded actuarial liability of FRS for select classes; provides that act fulfills important state interest; requires SBA & DMS to request determination letter from IRS. Effective Date: July 1, 2013
3/22/2013 HOUSE Read Third Time; Amendments Withdrawn (805139, 299145); Passed (Vote: 74 Yeas / 42 Nays)
4/2/2013 SENATE In Messages
4/3/2013 SENATE Received; Referred to Governmental Oversight and Accountability; Community Affairs; Appropriations
Relating to Digital Learning Choice & Innovation Subcommittee
Digital Learning: Requires DOE to develop online catalog of digital learning courses; revises & clarifies requirements for reporting & funding students in virtual instruction programs; provides requirements for funding home education students enrolled in Florida Virtual School; provides reporting requirements for Florida Virtual School Global; revises requirements for approval as virtual instruction provider; authorizes district school board to operate district innovation school as pilot program; removes restrictions on students taking online courses across district lines. Effective Date: July 1, 2013
4/4/2013 HOUSE Read Third Time; Amendments Failed (347035, 751133); Passed (Vote: 82 Yeas / 37 Nays)
4/11/2013 SENATE In Messages
4/12/2013 SENATE Referred to Education; Appropriations Subcommittee on Education; Appropriations
BPAA has made significant and positive progress in moving towards a resolution of Principal concerns with the use of a new system to rank administrators and to remove principals from existing schools and the subsequent process for placing those Principals in other locations.
We have been in ongoing discussions directly with the Superintendent and expect to have a full resolution in the very near future. For those impacted Principals we are working around the clock to provide them with legal defense as well as support. We are encouraged by recent discussions that we may be close to a full resolution and continue to work positively in that direction.
We will provide you with the details of that resolution as soon as it occurs.
To all Principals and Assistant Principals:
BPAA has approved and implemented a strategic approach to the resolution of the new District evaluation metric which resulted in 14 Principals being informed that they would not be returning to their schools next year. We have also initiated legal action and will vigorously defend all members who have been negatively impacted by these recent decisions. It is the intention of the BPAA Board of Directors to steer the current crisis towards an immediate and satisfactory resolution with the Superintendent and School Board. All measures are being taken to insure that we are successful.
We will be providing you specific updates as we move forward. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
URGENT NOTIFICATION UPDATE – 3/16/13
The BPAA Board and Officers, along with our staff, consultants, and attorney are working diligently to bring resolution to the recent decisions by the District to impose new evaluation criteria resulting in 12 Principals being told that they would not be returning to their schools next year and thereby leaving their status in terms of location, rank, level, and even employment in question.
BPAA is committed to resolving this matter with the District in a fair and equitable manner, bringing clarity and predictability to the process of evaluating principals along with the manner in which people are renewed or placed as principals. Consequently, the BPAA Board has approved a strategic approach to handling the current crisis which has already begun to be implemented. We have been working around the clock since we were informed of the first notification by the Area Directors last Friday.
As an Association dedicated to the fair, and just treatment of all school based administrators, we have a strong role to play in ensuring that your due process rights are protected and we will continue to assert that position with the District Administration and School Board.
If you are a principal and a member of BPAA who has been impacted by the recent implementation of this new nebulous criteria for rating or ranking principals, we ask that you contact our Association so that we may provide you with ongoing legal counsel and work towards a favorable resolution of the matter for you.
We will continue to update you as we continue to resolve this issue.
Urgent - Updated May 1st, 2013
URGENT NOTIFICATION – UPDATE
BPAA continues to wait for clarification and understanding regarding these recent actions by the District Staff. Currently 12 principals have been confirmed by BPAA that they have been told they will not be returning to their schools at the end of their contract term this June.
As an association we want nothing more than to assist these individuals by ensuring their due process rights are protected. These individuals have been informed that due to low/poor performance (based upon the new criteria I have previously described), that they must now look for other Principal positions or agree to a demotion to an assistant principal. We are asking the district to use the approved BASA process to evaluate principal’s and assistant principals in the district, or at a minimum to be clear about what the expectations will be for review of school based administrators.
It has come to our attention that the District believes that the association is somehow responsible for the media attention and the frustration regarding the actions taken by the District. For the record, the only information the Association has shared has been information obtained directly from district staff, from impacted individuals, or from School Board members. We have not contacted the media to draw any attention to this matter, we have instead been placed in a situation where we have had to respond to the onslaught of media requests for interviews etc. As it is not in the best interests of these principals who are effected to speak to the media, the Association has handled requests for interviews on their behalf. It has always been our policy to resolve any issues relating to our members by working in cooperation with the School Board and Staff and that policy has not changed. Unfortunately, due to the lack of communication by the District staff, we have been placed in the position of having to answer the concerns of our members given the best information we have had available to us. We will continue to update you using our website and message board.
There is now scheduled a meeting of all principals and the Superintendent on Friday at 3;30 at Piper High School where we understand he intends to explain the new policy direction and we hope to offer some insight into the decisions relating to these impacted principals.
URGENT NOTIFICATION – UPDATE March 12, 2013
As of today, BPAA has been contacted by 11 principals who have indicated that they have been notified that they will not be returning to their schools next year and due to the fact that they are low or poor performing based upon a new set of criteria the totality of which is their VAM score, the answer to a single question on the teacher and student customer satisfaction survey, and based upon the total number of complaints relating to them or the school that were logged in at the Area Office this year. There are five more principals who may also have been so notified but that has not been confirmed by our organization.
We have referred these individuals to our legal counsel and we are preparing to defend them in court as well as before the School Board as we firmly believe that their due process rights have been violated by the district, as well as their reputations unduly harmed due to the use of untested, subjective and nonsensical data.
As of 5:00 pm we have not heard anything from the District Office as to what other principals might expect, whether they have completed their notification of principals etc. Neither have they explained to the individuals who have been notified exactly what they can expect in terms of the conditions of their employment such as pay. Since there are currently few to no vacancies in the District as a principal, these individuals will have to wait until their current job is advertised, and then filled which will create vacancies elsewhere in the district creating any possible jobs for them to apply. We all know that the process of advertising and filling a principal position can take several months at least. Chances are very good that assuming that any of these principals could be hired as a principal at another school after having been told they are low/poor performing by the very same individuals who will be involved in deciding which principals will be hired throughout the district – that they won’t be appointed until after their current contract expires. If they choose to take their chances and apply as a principal as oppose to opting for the other choice they were given – accept a demotion to an assistant principal, then where will they assigned? How will they be assigned? There are so many aspects to this decision that have never been thought out, and if they have been, they certainly have not been communicated to the individuals who have been told they no longer run a school. Even in the years where people were most fearful about their job security, the district did not treat human beings in this horrendously thoughtless manner.
There is no excuse for this level of incompetence, and we have recommended to the District that they withdraw these findings and admit that this whole idea was a mistake, and handled badly to say the least. We have then told them that if they believe we have low performing principals in the district , then they should use the BASA instrument and process that is already in place which guarantees their due process rights, gives people a clear understanding of the expectations and allows them a chance to improve and if they don’t , then the district can take these kinds of actions.
Although I loath to repeat rumors, I understand from reliable sources that the District may now be saying that there is no list, and that there never was a list. This would be an irreparable mistake as evidence of such a ranking list does exist, and has been shown to Board members. BPAA submitted a freedom of information request today, asking for the list and all information pertaining to how people were ranked and what criteria was used. Principal’s names have been shared with elected officials and have been described as low performing without ever notifying those individuals. The principals who have been actually told they are not returning are but a fraction of the total names on that list. There were first and second year principals and retirees who were deemed poor performers and they have no idea that they were categorized as such because they did not receive a visit from their director. Rest assured that if the district attempts to tamper or destroy evidence, we will be asking the State’s Attorney to investigate, they need to acknowledge what they have done, take responsibility for their mistake and correct it, not dig themselves a deeper hole.
We understand that the Superintendent and Dr. Blackburn may be calling a meeting of the principals in the district later this week in an effort to explain themselves. Let’s hope they see the error of their ways and see the light. We will be asking the Board to intervene as this issue has gone on too long without any, let alone adequate communication out to the principals. It is a travesty to have people waiting, thinking they may be on a list, not knowing – this is simply inhumane.
Know that your organization is doing everything we can to support all principals and seeing that your rights are protected. Unfortunately this issue has been mishandled by the district to the point now that it is out of control. Yet another blunder. Not sure how principals can ever trust the District staff who were involved in creating this fiasco again. We need the district to deliver a workable solution NOW!
Executive Director BPAA
March 7, 2013
All Principals and Assistant Principals:
It is with great concern that the BPAA must inform you of a new practice/policy that the District, through Dr. Desmond Blackburn’s office, has created. This policy will affect more than 50 Principals this year and is expected to be used each year as a means to ‘clean house’.
Dr. Blackburn’s office has created a new matrix which ranks each principal in the district. Using the bottom 25 percent (approximately 50 principals), he has determined that the principals ranked at the bottom are “poor performing” or “low performing’ individuals. The criteria he chose to use to create the ranking is 1) a principal’s VAM score; 2) the answers to the question, ‘does my principal care about my needs on the student customer satisfaction survey; 3) the answers to the question “does my principal care about my needs “ on the teacher satisfaction survey; and 4) the total number of complaints a has principal received by the area director, and for which the area director became involved; i.e., had a meeting, made a call , etc.. Supposedly, these complaints do not include BTU complaints, but that is unclear. Obviously, this criterion is non-scientific, biased, subjective and frankly nonsensical. Many principals on the list had very high VAM scores and were rated highly effective at mid-year on the BASA instrument. Despite my repeated discussions with the District regarding the fact that we do not believe this is a just or legal process, they are moving forward.
The list of 50 people was reduced to 26 by removing retirees and first or second year principals who will remain vulnerable but will be given ‘assistance’ as necessary. The remaining 26 principals have one
thing in common: they have had issues with BTU, they have had issues with Dr. Blackburn, or they are vocal and outspoken. This list is - pure and simple- a hit list.
The plan for these 26 principals is that they will be summoned to the office where they will be told that they will not be returning to their schools for the 2013-14 school year. They will be told they can apply for any open position and hope to be rehired. If they are not rehired, then they will either be demoted to Assistant Principal or will be non-renewed.
All principals need to be concerned; they may not make the list this year but could find themselves on it next year. This is nothing more than a way to bypass the legal requirements of due process. If you have had BTU problems, if you have difficult student populations, if you’ve had poor ratings on your customer survey results, or if you have a political situation at your school, which causes uproar, you may be on this list.
BPAA needs your help to fight this unfair and ill-conceived means to dismiss and demote principals. No one is safe. It is believed that the next round of demotions or non-renewals will be every principal currently in DROP. We will be asking you to write letters, attend board meetings, actively seek support from members of the community and back your colleagues. BPAA will let you know exactly where and when we need you to act. Each and every one of these 26 people has effective or highly effective evaluations. Next week, 26 lives will be destroyed. Be prepared to return to the BPAA website for updates and requests for action on your part. You need to get and stay involved!
Executive Director BPAA