Bainbridge school district modifies union contract for teachers to move early-release days to Mondays

The Bainbridge Island School District has reached agreement with its teachers' union on changes to their existing contract that will modify the timing of early-release days for students.

District officials said the switch in early-release days from once a month to weekly will give teachers crucial time for professional development, given the district's focus on new initiatives and staff improvement requirements.

Early-release days will move to Mondays each week, and students will be let out 90 minutes early starting with the 2012-13 school year.

In the past, students were dismissed 180 minutes early during one Wednesday in the middle of each month.

The changes to the collective bargaining agreement with the Bainbridge Island Education Association were approved by the school board at its last meeting.

Peter Bang-Knudsen, assistant superintendent of administrative services, said the contract changes were bargained during a mid-year re-opener.

"Usually the contracts are for two years, and so we had a couple of limited items that were re-openers. So we made some changes to the existing contract and some letters of agreement," he said.

The contract covers approximately 250 certificated employees in the Bainbridge district, and the agreement runs through the next school year.

The entire contract will be renegotiated next spring or summer, Bang-Knudsen said.

Mondays were chosen for the early-release day to fit with the schedule at Bainbridge High School, district officials said.

The district plans on transitioning its early-release days to Wednesdays for the 2013-2014 school year.

Other changes to the union contract include an offset for the 1.9 reduction in wages for certificated staff for the 1012-2013 school year, and the start of a pilot program for a new teacher evaluation system in the coming school year. Participants would include provisional staff, members of the evaluation committee and a randomly selected group of certificated employees and volunteers.

The school board also agreed to delay the creation of a committee to address independent and contract studies and online courses until the 2012-2013 school year.


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