Friday, November 7, 2003
CCHS teachers hold up reaccreditation as contract talks stall
Despite pleas from the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee (RSC) and the Carlisle Board of Selectmen to keep contract negotiations behind closed doors, the Concord-Carlisle Teachers Association (CCTA) has continued to reach out to the public for support of their position.
On November 3, the CCTA voted to table the Assessment of Student Learning Report prepared for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges as part of the current re-accreditation process for the high school. "This vote to table should not be seen as any comment on the committee's work, said Kevin Harding, co-chair of the re-accreditation steering committee. "The report was excellent. We just can't be sure that the conditions the committee describes will still be available to us." His statement refers to one of the major issues in the contract negotiation, the preservation of their current four-class teaching load limit.
In comparable surrounding towns high school teachers have a four-course limit in Lincoln-Sudbury, Weston and Newton. In Wayland only English and science teachers are capped at four courses. All other surrounding school districts currently have a five-course limit.
When asked about the teaching load at other area high schools, CCHS Superintendent Brenda Finn said, "We must look at the resources and decide what we can afford.We always want to retain the best staff," Finn said. "The question is how do we maintain the level of excellence with existing resources at a time of diminished state funding?"
This is the third reaccreditation report that the CCTA has refused to approve pending the resolution of the contract. The earlier contract expired officially in June 2003. However, an evergreen clause in the agreement states that its provisions remain in place until a new contract is signed.
The RSC team on the other side of the table has refused to comment publicly on the negotiations, citing an agreement between both parties to keep the process behind closed doors. However, they have indicated that there are a number of issues still to be resolved, and that under these difficult economic conditions the towns "need some flexibility."
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