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    The e-School case

    The eSchool district is located in a relatively settled and stable upper-middle-income community with a strong interest in quality education. The eSchool district consists of ten schools: seven elementary schools (from Kindergarten to Grade 7) and three high schools (from Grade 8 to Grade 12). There are 12,000 students in the eSchool district: 7,500 elementary and 4,500 high school students. The average class size in the elementary schools is 29 students. The high school classes are on average 10 students larger than the elementary schools. The district is funded from three sources: (1) Municipal property taxes, (2) Provincial funding, and (3) Federal (state) funding.

    For the last three years student enrolment in the eSchool district has been falling. Due to the fact that provincial and federal government funding is allocated on a per student basis, decreased enrolments have reduced the District's funding. Furthermore, the projected property tax revenue for the current year will be lower than in the previous year. Maintaining the district budget at a level consistent with the previous year will produce a budget shortfall of over $800,000. All this leads to a financial crisis in the district.

    The management of the eSchool district had lobbied both provincial and federal governments for increased budgetary allocations with no result. They contend that for the system to function within its budgetary constraints to the end of the current fiscal year, personnel must be cut and teachers' workload increased.

    The contract between the eSchool district management and the eSchool Teachers union expired at the end of the previous school year, on June 30--. Since then, the management and the union representatives have met on several occasions in an attempt to finalize the new contract but they have not been successful. It is now October 23 and the contract has not been ratified.

    The Union

    The teachers' union represents 90 percent of all teachers: 260 elementary teachers and 115 high school teachers are union members. The workday is seven hours. Teachers are currently allotted one hour per day preparation time.

    There have been talks among the union’s membership of the possibility about calling a strike if the contract is not finalized by the end of November. Parents have been placing pressure on both the teachers and the management to keep schools operating. It is clear that there would be many upset people in the community if the education of their children was to be disrupted by a school closure or other job action. The union executive has therefore agreed that even though there is no signed contract, out of concern for students and the community at large, teachers would assume normal operations throughout the district. This situation will be reviewed on a day-to-day basis.

    The union is asking for a wage increase in line with recent gains achieved by unions in neighbouring communities. Despite pressure from community groups, the union is justifying its wage demands by stating that the teachers are overworked and that the cost of living has increased by 3% in the past year. According to the union, the management has simply passed its fiscal problems onto the teachers and has not confronted the community over its unwillingness to accept increased taxation to fund education.

    Framework for Agreement

    Salary

    1.

    Across-the-board salary increase shall be _____ (0%, 2%, 3%, 4%, or 5%) annually.

    Reduction of Staff

    2.

    There shall be a reduction of _____ (0, 10, 20, 30, or 40) teachers over and above vacancies created by early retirements, teachers moving to administrative positions or positions vacant due to other teachers on leave.

    3.

    Layoff Notice will be provided to affected teachers _____ (1, 2, 3, or 4) weeks prior to the layoff date.

    4.

    Layoffs will be determined on a case-by-case basis by representatives from _______________ (union, management, or joint committee of union and management).

    Workload

    5.

    There shall be at least _____ (0, 30, or 60) minutes allocated for preparation time.

    6.

    The Management may assign teachers up to an average of _____ (0, 30, or 60) minutes/week for performing duties other than their teaching duties. These may include emergency substitute fill-in, bus duty, hall duty, disciplinary duty, committee service, and duties involving the monitoring and/or chaperoning of after-school athletic and social events. These duties shall be rotated in order to distribute the load.

    7.

    The assignment of individual teachers to extra duties will be done by _____ (Teachers themselves, Management, or Joint committee of Union and Management).