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Little Rock School District, union agree on contract

by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | November 13, 2018 at 7:16 p.m.

The Little Rock School District and the Little Rock Education Association agreed on a contract on Tuesday, according to the state Department of Education.

Education Commissioner Johnny Key approved the agreement, a news release from the agency said.

“This agreement clears a path for the Arkansas Department of Education to petition the State Board for a waiver from the Arkansas Teacher Fair Dismissal Act,” the news release stated.

The 12-page agreement is signed by Key, Little Rock School District Superintendent Mike Poore and Little Rock Education Association President Teresa Knapp Gordon.

“This agreement is a win for students,” Key said in a statement. “A waiver from the Teacher Fair Dismissal Act gives the Little Rock School District the flexibility it needs to expedite critical staffing decisions, especially in areas where student learning is directly impacted. The agreement also meets my commitment to providing due process for staff, and it strengthens the district’s utilization of the Arkansas Teacher Excellence and Support System to drive instructional improvement.”

Officials with the School District and the Education Association did not immediately return calls Tuesday seeking details about the negotiations.

Little Rock School District and Little Rock Education Association leaders focused negotiations on a proposal that affects some employment protections at 22 of the district schools.

Key on Oct. 22 directed Poore to seek the association’s support for a proposed waiver of the Arkansas Teacher Fair Dismissal Act and the Public School Employee Fair Hearing Act in the district’s 22 D- and F-rated schools.

Such a waiver would make it easier and quicker to fire an employee identified as performing poorly in the affected schools.

Key cited insufficient academic progress at the schools as the reason for the proposal.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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