Cleveland Union Makes Counteroffer On Reforms

The Cleveland Teachers Union has made a counter proposal to Mayor Frank Jackson’s schools plan. The three pages of amendments offer concessions in seniority rules but refuse to simply throw out the existing contract between CTU and the district. CTU President David Quolke describes the counter offer as an incredible compromise.

Quolke said he also believes CTU’s ideas offer solutions to problems in the district that Jackson was targeting with his plan, just in a form teachers can handle and that offer room to find common ground.

“We’ve been working hard to make what we view as a bad bill less bad,” Quolke said, stressing that he has always wanted to work with Jackson and the district. “We don’t want to be fighting with the mayor just saying, ‘Kill the bill.”

Jackson’s original plan as announced in February aimed to increase the performance of city schools by dispensing with union rules on teacher pay and layoffs, while partnering more with top charter schools and offering districts flexibility in how they carry out their jobs in exchange for success.

The parts of the plan covering collective bargaining rights were the one the union found most unacceptable. CTU’s proposals suggest that the existing contract remain in place for most schools, but a new contract be created for the three critical schools identified by Mayor Jackson, which would make them exempt from layoff and recall rules.

Quolke hopes that the CTU proposals can officially be incorporated into Jackson’s plan but if not then the CTU will lobby for amendments when the bill goes for debate.

In response to the CTU’s proposals, Mayor Jackson said he hasn’t had a chance to review them yet but has been asking for written suggestions from the CTU for some weeks.

“I’m not in a negotiation or compromise mode,” Jackson said. “I’m in an outcome mode. If I’m wrong in how I’m proposing to get there, tell me how I should do it. I’ll do anything that gets us the outcome.”