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Taveras announces agreement with Providence Teachers Union

August 2, 2011

The long-promised agreement between City Hall and the PTU is at hand:

Mayor Angel Taveras today announced that City officials and representatives from the Providence Teachers Union (PTU) have reached a tentative agreement that puts new practices in place to improve student achievement and closes the school budget deficit.  The agreement uses a retirement incentive and spending reductions to avert teacher terminations.

Chief among changes to teaching and learning practice is the implementation of a longer school day and reductions in the number of days that teachers can call in sick. Teachers who have their terminations rescinded will be placed into open positions based on student need within the district by the school department and there will be no “bumping” of junior teachers for all three years of the contract. 

The agreement results in a net savings to the City of $53 million, including $41 million in spending reductions and $12 million in other concessions, such as an increase in the length of the school day without additional compensation.

“Through negotiations with the PTU, we have come to an agreement that strengthens our schools and improves educational opportunities for our children while realizing significant and vital savings for Providence,” said Mayor Taveras.

The Mayor has put forth a vision for Providence’s Public Schools that seeks to ensure that every child enters school ready to learn, there is a highly effective teacher in front of every classroom, students are reading at or above grade level by third grade, parent and community engagement is increased, and more students graduate, with a greater percentage of students going on to college. 

“Rebuilding a strong relationship with our City’s teachers is vital to improving public education in Providence.  I am hopeful that with the start of a new school year, we will focus our collective energy on improving achievement for every Providence public school student,” said Mayor Taveras.

The agreement, which will settle outstanding contract and legal disputes between the City and the PTU, includes the following provisions:

  • Terminations will be rescinded for teachers who lost positions because of fiscal crisis. Terminations issued for other causes will not be rescinded
  • PPSD administrators retain the right to place teachers who have their terminations rescinded in positions that best meet the needs of students
  • Reduction in staff as a result of 80 retirements
  • School day will lengthen at every grade level over the next three years (total of 15 minutes more per day over three years, resulting in approximately two additional weeks of learning time)
  • No raises until September 2013
  • Defers this year’s longevity payment for one year
  • Sick days reduced from 20 to 15 and incentives built in to encourage reduced use of sick time resulting in less loss of learning due to teacher absenteeism, as well as reduced substitute costs
  • Increase to healthcare co-shares
  • Adoption of the mediated Criterion-Based Hiring Agreement, with no “bumping” of junior teachers.

Though not a contractual stipulation, the district will immediately increase instructional time by ending the practice of dismissing students early every week to accommodate state-mandated common planning time.  Additionally, Providence will officially begin annual teacher evaluations beginning in September.

“This agreement sets the stage for a new beginning in which the administration, teachers and staff come together to demonstrate that we can and will work together to better serve our students.  I look forward to working collaboratively and establishing shared responsibility for producing the improvements in student outcomes that we all want to see,” said Interim Superintendent Susan Lusi.

The agreement must be approved by PTU members and ratified by the City Council.

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