Chariho Starts Down the Path Blazed by East Providence

In early 2009, finding itself at the end of its fiscal and negotiating rope, the East Providence School Committee “unilaterally” set the new terms of employment for teachers.
In due course, their decision was upheld by Superior Court.
Now the Chariho School Committee finds itself in a similar position with the teacher contract that expired five days ago. So, even as it prepared to enter into mediation with the NEA RI following upon eight months of negotiations, the Chariho School Committee

decided that until a new collective agreement has been signed, salary increases as well as other provisions in the expired contract — bonuses for longevity and for teachers with advanced degrees, for example — will be suspended.

“Other provisions” including specifically the step increases. Chariho teachers are not taking this sitting down.

The National Education Association-Chariho has filed a complaint with the Rhode Island Labor Board, accusing the Chariho School Committee of breaking the law in not honoring teachers’ scheduled salary increases. NEA-Chariho says it will also file a complaint with the Rhode Island Department of Education.
The old contract, which expired Aug. 31, contains a salary schedule of 12 “steps” or levels of pay. Salaries for 2012 for the district’s 342 teachers ranged from $38,564 at step one to $75,600 for teachers at the highest level, step 12.
On Aug. 21, after eight months of bargaining, the school committee decided that until a new collective agreement has been signed, salary increases as well as other provisions in the expired contract — bonuses for longevity and for teachers with advanced degrees, for example — will be suspended.

Chariho correctly points out that there is no contract in effect.

“That contract expired on Aug. 31, so there is no contract,” countered Chariho Superintendent Barry Ricci, who is also a member of the district’s negotiating team. “The school committee decided that everyone was going to freeze in place salary-wise, until the contract was settled.”

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Dan
Dan
9 years ago

“You have lived another year, so regardless of the financial situation of our institution, we are rewarding you with a fixed salary increase.”
What legitimate purpose does this serve? How does it make any sense at all outside of the union realm?
Beyond a one- or two-year learning period at the outset, there is no evidence that additional years as a teacher has any correlation with better performance. In fact, everything I’ve read on the subject suggests that, beyond the fundamentals, teaching is a talent that one either has or doesn’t have.

Bob
Bob
9 years ago

Don’t ever sign a new contract. Is there a law says you have to?

Andrew
Andrew (@carroll-andrew-morse)
Editor
9 years ago

There actually is: bit.ly/RErMP0
However, the law is also clear that contracts cannot extend beyond 3 years. Contract terms are not laws that stay in effect until otherwise changed.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
9 years ago

Nobody’s laughing now!

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