May 22, 2015

NYSUT gathers network of local leaders to discuss receivership

Author: Sylvia Saunders
Source: NYSUT Communications
receivership
Caption: L-R: NYSUT Vice President Catalina Fortino; Yonkers Federation of Teachers President Pat Puleo; Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore; and NYSUT Labor Relations Specialist Nick Whitman. Photo by Marty Kerins, Jr.

Emphasizing the need for sharing best practices and common concerns, NYSUT Vice President Catalina Fortino this week convened a meeting of local union leaders from high-needs districts that may be subject to the governor's onerous receivership law.

"As soon as this became law, we immediately wanted to provide an opportunity to bring everyone together to figure out the issues, concerns and ask questions," Fortino said. "We need to create a network."

The governor's receivership plan, which overrides local control and collective bargaining in an effort to turn around struggling schools, was approved last month as part of the state budget. NYSUT strongly opposed the idea and is pressing for a slower phase-in and more planning time.

The State Education Department, which will hold a stakeholders' meeting on May 27, is expected to issue a final list of targeted districts July 1. Currently, it appears 17 school districts have schools that could be affected by the new law.

Local leaders and NYSUT staff heard from American Federation of Teachers' Barbara Palazzo, who described the receivership experience in Lawrence, Ma. She said it only worked in schools where there was a sincere collaboration between labor and management, not imposed top-down.