2/24/2010 KEA Links: Evaluation Goal-Setting Form Finally Resolved

It began in the fall of 2008 with a few reports from KEA building reps about a variety of new forms being used for setting annual evaluation goals.  Now, after several months of grinding through the grievance process, a successful arbitration hearing, and a few months of post-arbitration bargaining, the district has been compelled to only use a set of forms that comply with the KEA/KSD contract.  Despite its rhetoric about “partnership,” the district dragged its heels and created unnecessary delays at every possible turn, as it resisted living up to its contractual agreements.

 Administrators Had Created New Evaluation Criteria

At the core of the issue were a series of evaluation goal forms—  different from any found in the contract, different from those used at other schools in the district, and sometimes different than those used right down the hall.  Some of these were just variations on a common theme, while others linked teacher goals directly to student WASL scores, the school motto, or a variety of criteria foreign to the contract.   Teachers were often forced to adopt these goals without an opportunity for meaningful discussion or to come to an agreement on goals. 

 Successful Arbitration

KEA insisted that the district return to the language of the contract, allow teachers the opportunity to develop and discuss their goals, and only if no agreement is reached, to assign goals only from the CAM rubric.  This is what the contract says is to happen (Article VIII, Section 2).  The district denied the grievance at superintendent level, and the Association insisted on taking the matter to arbitration.  The arbitration hearing was held in early October 2009, briefs were filed by both parties (the district’s was late, of course), and the arbitrator decided in December that the district was wrong and that they would have to cease using their made up forms.

 Development of New Forms (and more district stalling)

The arbitrator’s decision also directed the district to negotiate goal setting forms with KEA that would comply with the contract.  This, too, resulted in more stalling by the district.  KEA President Lisa Brackin Johnson and UniServ Rep Mike McNett met with a roomful of district administrators on January 4, 2010 to discuss forms.  The discussion was cordial and the district promised to send new drafts to KEA.  Several weeks passed and the district sent nothing.  KEA prompted the district to send the drafts, but the district continued to delay.  If the parties could not reach an agreement, the arbitrator had retained jurisdiction for 70 days and was ready at that time to decide which forms would be appropriate.  On the 69th day, a Friday, KEA sent forms of its own to the district, having still not received the promised drafts.  The district sent its forms to KEA later that afternoon, and KEA quickly made revisions and sent them back.  The Association then sent a copy of this to the arbitrator for a decision, having not reached an agreement within the set time frame.  True to form, the district’s general counsel Chuck Lind requested an extension.  70 days was not enough for him, apparently, even though the parties were already almost a year and a half into the grievance process.  The next week, an agreement was reached.  The district had made one change from the forms KEA returned to them on Friday—they dropped an “or” from an “and/or.”  The issue is now resolved, “just” 16 months after the union objected to this violation of the contract.

 New Forms Available Soon!

The new forms are now available to principals and through the KEA website (http://www.kentea.org/members/contract.html).  They will be in use for the remainder of this year, and in the future until such time, if ever, that KEA and the district agree to change them.  The forms include a goal setting form for the CAM, a goal setting form for the PGP, and a mid-year reflection form.  These are to replace the hodge podge of documents that administrators have invented on the basis of their own flashes of creative inspiration.

 How Does This Affect Your Current Goals?

How would you like it to affect your goals?  If your goals were developed through mutual agreement, then they can just be pasted into the new form or stapled to it.  You won’t need to start over from scratch.  If you and your assessor were unable to reach an agreement, and you were therefore assigned a set of goals, then these goals must be directly from the criteria in the contract (see the CAM rubric Exhibit L, or a subsequent exhibit for non-classroom positions).  If you were assigned one or more goals by your administrator, through the use of a goal form or by other means, and if that goal or goals are not directly from the contract, then you can use the new form to develop new goals.

 Principal Training

In a positive step, the district has agreed to provide training for principals and assistant principals in the correct use of the new forms and the goal setting process.  This training is scheduled for March 4th, after which the new forms will begin to be used.  KEA welcomes this step and hope it leads to a smooth and contractually correct use of the new documents.  If it doesn’t, let your building rep know right away.

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