Today, joint sponsors of House Bill 506 (Representatives Williams, Amstutz) and Senate Bill 325 (Senators Turner, Lehner) announced that they are introducing new versions of bills on behalf of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District in both the Senate and the House. These bills will reflect provisions agreed to between leaders of the Cleveland Teachers Union and Cleveland Municipal Schools.

The versions introduced today have been assigned as House Bill 525 and Senate Bill 335. They are expected to be referred this week to committees for hearings to be scheduled next week.
Sponsors Representative Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) and Representative Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster) pointed out that they have a significantly bipartisan list of co-sponsors joining them as they introduce this new version today.

The bill sponsors indicated that work is still needed to address concerns in the charter school community with Transformation Alliance provisions, but that they intend to do so with approaches that retain the transformational goals articulated by Cleveland leaders. They acknowledged that trust-building will be challenging but necessary as they work through the community school provisions.

The new version of the bill removes the “fresh start” provision regarding teacher contracts and makes the following additional changes:

Low-performing schools - The agreement allows the district to quickly intervene in low-performing schools, in consultation and collaboration with the unions, and clarifies that teachers and employees cannot and will not be fired solely because they work in low-performing schools;

Differentiated salary schedule - The agreement ensures the development of a salary schedule that factors in performance, specialized training and other relevant experience, and ensures that teachers will not receive pay cuts simply because a new pay schedule is created;

Teacher assignments - The agreement allows the district to fill teaching positions in all schools using hiring teams that include principals, teachers and parents, as opposed to assigning teachers based on seniority;

Teacher evaluations - The agreement protects CMSD’s and CTU’s hard work on a modernized Teacher development and evaluation system while expanding timelines and focusing on quality;

Tenure and dismissal - The agreement provides the district with wider discretion in granting tenure and streamlines the dismissal process for poor-performing teachers by focusing on performance evaluation as the primary factor, while protecting the due process rights for CMSD employees;

Reduction-in-force or layoff - The agreement aligns layoff decisions to teacher evaluations and teacher quality; and uses tenure and seniority as tiebreakers when needed;

School-year calendar - The agreement allows the school district to set the school year and school day calendar for all district schools; and

Transformation Alliance - The agreement clarifies that the Transformation Alliance must conduct public meetings, provide access to public records and adopt appropriate conflict-of-interest policies.

The bills are expected to be referred to committee and heard for sponsor testimony in the coming days.


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