Michigan Education Association

Agreement reached for reasonable extension on Race to the Top deadline

Districts, unions will now get to read final plan before signing off on it                                                                           
EAST LANSING, Mich., Jan. 6, 2010 – This afternoon an extension was announced for the deadline for school districts and their local unions to commit to participating in the Race to the Top program.  This announcement from the Michigan Department of Education followed on the heels of a very productive meeting Tuesday afternoon among many of the key players in the process of helping Michigan compete for additional federal funding through RTTT.

“We are appreciative that State Superintendent Mike Flanagan has agreed to the reasonable request that districts and their employees get to read a final plan before signing on to it,” said MEA President Iris K. Salters in response to the announcement about the extension, which calls for a final plan to be released by this Friday evening, Jan. 8, with local signoff due by close of business on Tuesday, Jan. 12.
                         
Salters and Flanagan were among those attending the Tuesday afternoon meeting where the extension was agreed upon, including Gov. Jennifer Granholm, State Board of Education President Kathleen Straus, AFT-Michigan President David Hecker and MEA Executive Director Lu Battaglieri.

The agreement calls for districts to communicate their intent to participate in the RTTT process by noon this Friday, Jan. 8 – this non-binding communication allows MDE to finalize the state plan while still allowing districts and their employee unions to review the plan prior to making a final commitment.

In addition to the extension to the timeline, a workgroup meeting was scheduled for Friday between MDE, MEA and AFT-Michigan representatives to work on remaining concerns in the draft plan, including areas where the plan oversteps the authority granted in recent school reform legislation and hampers local control over key reform efforts.

The parties also agreed to include language protecting collective bargaining rights in the standard MOU and to “grandfather” such language into MOUs that have already been signed.  Superintendent Flanagan’s decision to make local union signatures on the MOUs optional still stands.

In a message to local union presidents Tuesday evening, Salters said, “These developments are very positive and provide us a real opportunity to engage in this process in the collaborative manner that RTTT was intended to create.”


Contact:

Doug Pratt, MEA Director of Communications, 517-896-4465
David Hecker, AFT-Michigan President, 313-204-6115

 

Updated: January 6, 2010