THE Guam Federation of Teachers is continuing to oppose the plan to extend the working hours of high school teachers.
Earlier, a March 6 Guam Department of Education memorandum directed the adoption of a calendar that would add teacher working hours this coming 2012-2013 school year.
The memorandum directed the high school administrators to adopt the four-block bell schedule, which will add 10 days to the current school calendar. According to the memo, the additional hours will be used to “schedule department meetings, individual educational plan meetings, parent/teacher meetings, disciplinary advisory council meetings, as well as others.”
The memo also asked the administrators to advise stakeholders that the “motion was passed in consideration of what is in the best interest of students.”
The additional schools days, according to the GFT newsletter, meant no additional pay for the teachers, which is a violation of the law.
GFT Vice President Tim Fedenko acknowledges that “the making of the school calendar is under the purview of the Guam Education Board” but “unilaterally changing working conditions isn’t.”
“In the past, we have worked together very well to establish a school calendar that best facilitates teaching and learning within GDOE and we would like to continue that tradition. But we will not be complicit in the use of the calendar to break the law in the attempt of making teachers work additional days without additional pay,” Fedenko added.
Fedenko also warned that GFT will use every resource they have to hold each and every participant in the action accountable.
In an earlier interview conducted by the Variety, a group of teachers from John F. Kennedy High School and George Washington High School expressed their dissatisfaction with how the policy changes were adopted without “prior consultation with teachers and parents.”
In a letter GFT President Matt Rector sent to GDOE, which was also posted in the GFT website, he said: “The proposed policy changes did not agree with conditions earlier agreed by both parties. He also said that bargaining has not been exhausted, which makes the directive not in compliance with the regulations set in the Public Employee Management Relations Act.”
Rector also demanded that GDOE interim Superintendent Taling Taitano rescind the memorandum and furnish GFT with a written assurance that “no changes will be made to the wages, hours, or terms of conditions of employment” until negotiations have been exhausted.
Longer hours for elementary
Meanwhile, during a recent Guam Education Board meeting held in Yoña, the principal of Marcial Sablan School requested the board to look at the possibility of extending the school day to help students catch up with their reading and math skills. Unlike the policy implemented for the high schools, teachers and parents are more receptive to the additional school hours. Other elementary schools are reportedly supportive of the proposal.
During the GEB meeting, Guam Department of Education Deputy Superintendent Rob Malay also discussed the memorandum stating possible options for the use of the facility in Tiyan currently housing the Untalan Middle School. In Malay’s memorandum, he indicated options for the use of the facility as a temporary or permanent site of UMS.
In the memo, Malay said GDOE will have “to repair or renovate the Barrigada campus if they decide to allow UMS to continue using the Tiyan facility as a temporary campus. The memo also proposed using the Tiyan facility, per the Attendance Committee’s suggestion, as a possible site for a Central High School or as a relocation option for the GDOE central offices. The document also stated that “the cost of renovating or rebuilding the Tiyan facility could take away from other GDOE projects.”