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Friday, Aug 01, 2014
Pasco Tribune

2 training days added for teachers

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LAND O' LAKES - Pasco County teachers will work two extra days this coming school year so they can receive additional training as schools prepare to implement Common Core State Standards.

The agreement to add the two paid workdays emerged during contract negotiations between the school district and United School Employees of Pasco, the union reported Wednesday.

The district will use federal Race to the Top funding to pay the teachers for the two days, the union said.

Common Core State Standards are being adopted by 45 states, including Florida, as part of an effort to have nationwide academic standards to ensure students receive a high-quality education regardless of where they live in the country.

The first day of Common Core planning will take place the week of Aug. 12, which is already a scheduled teacher-planning week. Principals will have the discretion of scheduling 7˝ hours of Common Core planning on one day, or splitting it in half over two days, according to a memorandum of understanding between the union and the district.

Because the Common Core planning will interfere with an already scheduled planning day, teachers will have the option of coming to work Aug. 9 as a planning day, or adding 1˝ hours each day during the week of Aug. 12.

The second added planning day for Common Core is Feb. 17, which previously was scheduled as an unpaid day off for Presidents Day.

Contract negotiations for the 2013-14 school year are continuing, and the union and district officials have both expressed hope that teachers and other school employees will receive raises for the first time in six years.

Other issues are being negotiated as well, including a district proposal that would restrict teachers' ability to transfer to another teaching position during the school year. Currently, teachers can apply for other jobs within Pasco any time they come open, but the district wants to limit the disruptions caused when teachers switch schools in midyear.

Lynne Webb, president of the union, is skeptical that a change is needed and questions whether the current policy has been much of a problem.

"We think the ideal situation is when a teacher is in a work environment where they feel comfortable and want to be there," Webb said.

The district's proposal would mean teaching jobs that came open during the school year would have to be filled by outside applicants, eliminating opportunities for current employees, she said.

"We don't think that's necessarily fair or good for kids," Webb said.

rblair@tampatrib.com

(813) 371-1853

Twitter: @RBlairTBO

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