The Bradley County Education Association is extremely proud of the relationship that it has had with the Board of Education. With the passage of the Professional Educators Collaborative Conferencing Act (PECCA), there will be changes in the manner in which we will serve as a voice for teachers.
This should not mean, however, that our voice will not be heard. Mr. [Johnny] McDaniel has already stated that employees will continue to be treated with the utmost respect.
The law specifies that a training process on collaborative conferencing will be developed by Jan. 1, 2012, and that training will be implemented by each local education agency by July 1, 2012. Until that time we have already planned with Mr. McDaniel to have monthly meetings throughout the academic year. He stated that he thought the meetings were a good idea and he would welcome the opportunity to do so.
We do, however, regret the loss of our memorandum of agreement with the board. We had spent over a year negotiating the contract with the board’s team. Countless hours had been spent working on proposals and presenting those proposals to the board’s team. We reached agreement on the contract with the board’s team on March 16. We ratified the contract with our members on April 11 and took a copy of the ratified contract to the board’s representative at that time.
We had been waiting since that time for the board to take action. Each time we requested information regarding when they would vote on the contract we were told that their lawyer had it. At the May board meeting I asked the board chairman when they would take action on the contract. I also explained that there were only a few minor changes from the previous contract which made it very difficult to understand why the lawyer still had it.
At that time, Mr. [Troy] Weathers and Mr. McDaniel stated that they had been advised by their lawyer not to take any action on the contract.
The negotiations process in our county had worked well for nearly 30 years. It is unfortunate that every county in the state will lose bargaining rights because a few counties had problems. With the signing of the Professional Educators Collaborative Conferencing Act by Gov. [Bill] Haslam on June 1, it suspended indefinitely any and all bargaining being conducted pursuant to the bill being signed into law.
Our members will still maintain the services of the Bradley County Education Association, the Tennessee Education Association and the National Education Association. The 2011-12 academic year will bring many changes for classroom teachers and other support personnel. BCEA, TEA and NEA will continue to advocate for teachers, education support personnel and students by providing training to assist educators in meeting the challenges of a changing educational environment.
By assisting teachers and support personnel, we will continue to strive to create the optimum learning atmosphere for our students so that they are able to thrive and be successful as more rigorous academic standards are implemented. It will continue to be the focus of our organizations to assist in providing great public schools for our students.
— Barbara Harrison