David M. Connelly, representing the City of Springfield and the state-installed Finance Control Board, reached an eleventh-hour deal with the Springfield Education Association which implements much needed reforms across the state’s second largest school district. A hallmark of the agreement includes merit pay for teachers who improve student achievement, which will be measured as a component in the teacher evaluation process. The agreement also allows for annual incentive bonuses to math and science teachers and those working in other areas of critical need. The pact also creates two elite top-paying classes of teachers, “teacher leaders” and “instructional leadership specialists” who will take on challenging assignments and serve as mentors to other teachers. The School District also won the right to assign teachers to schools based on the educational needs of the students, rather than merely teacher seniority. The contract eliminates the budget-busting system of annual step increases coupled with cost of living increases –instead compensating teachers with one or the other depending upon years of service. Mayor Charles V. Ryan praised the deal as “great news for the citizens of Springfield, our 2,600 teachers and 27,000 youngsters who count on us for a quality education.” Also acknowledging the significant reforms that the agreement brings to Springfield’s students, Governor Romney characterized the deal as one which adopts “progressive policies that put the children first.”
News coverage on the negotiations is avaiable by by clicking here.