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UPDATE: April 11, 2018 - NO SCHOOL THURSDAY APRIL 12

Dear Mustang Parents,

The results of today’s teacher survey are in.  542 responded and 55% intend to continue the walkout while 45% intend to return to work.  Consequently, schools will be closed on Thursday, April 12, for the teacher walkout.  

Our survey data clearly suggests that we are trending toward a majority of teachers desiring to return to work.  From a response of 97% on survey #1 who intended to walkout until today, a response of 55% who intend to continue the walkout, it appears that returning to school may be a ‘when’ and not an ‘if.’  Consequently, it would be wise to clarify for you what a ‘Return-to-Work’ plan would look like so that when the majority of teachers indicate that thy intend to return to work and we can secure enough substitutes to safely conduct classes, we are not all caught off guard. 

CONTINUED 

Information for You

MEA President Mark Webb and I have been consistently communicating throughout the walkout and work stoppage.  We have been providing one another with our perspectives regarding the work stoppage and its benefits and disadvantages and what we are hearing from our sources inside and outside of the Capitol.  We are in agreement that it is unlikely that the legislature will provide additional money to common education this session.  We are in agreement that because of our teachers’ efforts, along with the support of thousands of parents, community members, and other school personnel, we have secured substantial funding for common education that we otherwise would not have secured were it not for their efforts.  We are in agreement that, while we did receive significant funding, it is not enough to deliver the quality education that our students deserve and we must continue to apply consistent pressure on the legislature this session and in years to come and organize immediately to that end.  And, we are in agreement that a Return-to-Work plan must be discussed and must include the following non-negotiable elements;

Return-to-Work Plan

When survey data indicates that the majority of teachers intend to return to work, the following day (Day 1), school will be canceled.  Any teacher who chooses to continue advocacy at the Capitol may do so on Day 1.  The next day (Day 2) school will be canceled for students but all schools will open for a voluntary teacher work/prep day, and on Day 3, school will be in session.  

Example: If Thursday’s survey indicates that the majority intends to return to work, then on Friday, schools remain canceled for advocacy.  On Monday, schools remain canceled for students, but teachers may return to their classrooms on a voluntary basis to prepare for the return of their students.  On Tuesday, schools open and we are back in session.

Advocacy Plan When School is Back in Session

Immediately upon schools opening, we will enlist teachers from every school, support employees, administrators, and community members and develop district advocacy teams.  Once individuals sign up we will structure a schedule that sends advocacy teams to the Capitol on a rotating basis.  Our goal would be to have a presence at the Capitol a minimum of twice weekly throughout the remainder of the legislative session, beginning the first week we are back in school, whenever that is.  Next school year we would continue our advocacy in the fall prior to session beginning and then throughout the 2019 session and each year thereafter.  Our advocacy will include scheduled and unscheduled meetings with legislators and the Governor’s office when available.  Additionally, we will host in-district events with legislators.  Our advocacy will be structured and specific and we will continue to compel the legislature to fund our schools adequately.

Calendar Revision

As of Tuesday, April 10, we ran out of banked ‘snow days.’ Beginning today, Wednesday, April 11 we are required to make up each hour missed from this point forward. If we return to school on Tuesday, April 17, by adding 30 minutes to each school day and adding one day to the calendar, we would meet our 1,080 hours of instruction.  That would put our last day as Tuesday, May 29th.  If we miss additional days beyond Monday, April 16th, we will add additional days to the calendar accordingly. 

Finally

We have had incredible support from our parents and community.  You deserve high praise for your efforts to make the lives of your students better.  You have made a significant difference because of the unwavering support you have given to our teachers and especially the past 8 days as you have joined them as they stormed the Capitol and stood on street corners for your kids. Know that either way we go; staying the course with the walkout or returning to school, we will not please everyone. 

Tomorrow teachers will receive another survey. If the majority intends to continue to walkout, I will cancel school on Friday and Monday.  They would not receive another survey in this case until Monday afternoon. The legislature is currently not scheduled to be in session for Friday through Sunday so, again, the results from tomorrow’s survey will determine whether or not I cancel Friday and Monday.  If, on the other hand the survey results tomorrow indicate that majority intend to return to work on Friday, our Return-To-Work Plan outlined above will go into effect. School would be canceled Friday. School for students would be canceled again on Monday but teachers could return on Monday to prepare for their students’ return, and then we would be back in full session on Tuesday.

This has been a challenge for all of us.  There is no easy answer.  I am hopeful that by communicating often with you that you are as informed as you can be regarding the walkout and the considerations that I believe need to be made.  I appreciate all of our parents very much as does our Board and our entire administrative team.  Good luck as you consider how to continue advocating for all of our students.

Sincerely,

Sean McDaniel
Superintendent 

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