Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Little Rock teachers reject contract proposal; vote no confidence in superintendent

Posted By on Tue, Nov 12, 2013 at 9:24 PM

click to enlarge NO CONFIDENCE: Cathy Koehler says teacher morale low.
  • NO CONFIDENCE: Cathy Koehler says teacher morale low.
About 200 members of the Little Rock Education Association met tonight and voted unanimously to reject a contract proposal from the Little Rock School District, according to union president Cathy Koehler.

The same group voted, with one dissent, in a "no confidence" vote in Superintendent Dexter Suggs, only on the job since summer. The contract is only part of teachers' unhappiness. Koehler cited an inability to have conversations with the superintendent about issues, as the group had had with past superintendents. "I would love to have a real conversation with him," she said. But most union concerns go unanswered or are met with monosyllabic answers, she said.

The district has said it couldn't afford more than a 1.5 percent raise for teachers this year. That won't be enough to cover health insurance cost increases for many, teachers say. Teachers contend Suggs has added enough new assistant principal and special assignment teacher jobs to pay for another 1 percent increase, given a $39 million district surplus.

The district and union will now go to a federal mediator to continue contract discussions.

Koehler said the no-confidence vote wasn't a signal that the union wanted Suggs replaced. She said the teachers understood the district and the community didn't need another superintendent change at this juncture after years of turmoil. But she said she hoped it would provoke a discussion and encourage the School Board to exert some influence on more useful leadership by Sugg.

Among complaints from teachers, Koehler listed:

* A year-opening "bus speech" by Suggs to teachers in which he said some would be thrown off the bus and some should have been thrown off before he arrived. It set a combative tone, she said.

* The "We Promise" district publicity campaign. Teachers feel it suggests they'd been not committed to kids and education before Suggs arrived.

* Inconsistent enforcement of discipline, with some administrators not backing up teachers on disruptive students.

* A plan to put iPads in several of the district's more affluent schools — such as Forest Park, Roberts, Otter Creek and Gibbs — rather than needy schools where many more children had no computer access at home.

* Reorganization of Geyer Springs and Forest Heights schools with little information to teachers who are there now about future plans.

She said a survey of teachers found about 66 percent with low morale. She cited a lack of collegiality with the administration.

She faulted the School Board, too, for not asking more tough questions about some of Suggs' proposals.

I've tried to get a message to Suggs for response.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Who's harming women?

    Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is an Arkansas Republican. Thus, like the governor and the Republican-majority legislature, she intends to do everything she can to deny women comprehensive medical care, particularly abortion.
  • New normal

    No two presidential candidates since polling began have run up negatives as massive as those of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, who yet won their parties' nominations easily. "What gives?" may be the biggest political mystery in history.
  • Additional rape charges filed against Conway doctor

    Special Prosecutor Jason Barrett has added 11 more victims to two others alleging rape by Dr. Robert Rook of Conway.
  • Big Dam Bridge 100 brings big damn complaint about celebrity rider Hincapie

    The Big Dam Bridge 100 is this weekend and one dedicated biker isn't happy about a celebrity rider, admitted doper George Hincapie.

Most Viewed

  • Rapert joins 'Declaration of Dependence' on God and Bible

    A full page ad in Sunday's New York Times, signed by 21 religious figures, was styled as a "Declaration of Dependence Upon God and His Holy Bible." Sen. Jason Rapert, who's gone full-time into the preaching business, was a signatory along with the likes of faux historian David Barton, Kenneth Copeland, James Dobson and Creflo Dollar.
  • Arkansas begins 'Real ID' driver licenses

    Next month, Arkansas will begin offering so-called enhanced driver licenses and ID cards to bring the state in line with federal standards.
  • Deputy shoots man in Pulaski County

    The Pulaski County sheriff's office says a deputy has fatally shot a man on Col. Glenn Road outside Little Rock.
  • Drug companies fight medical marijuana

    Disclosure about financing of the anti-medical marijuana campaign in Arkansas is so far lacking, but it's no secret what's happened in other states — pharmaceutical companies have worked to defeat medical marijuana laws because they create (safer) competition.
  • Broadway Bridgeageddon set for Wednesday morning

    The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has scheduled a "closing ceremony" for the Broadway Bridge at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, 45 minutes after the bridge is closed for six months or so of work to tear down the old structure and replace it.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation