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By Ed Sibby

“Our schools were founded on liberatory design principles, but the history of HTH has excluded the voice of educators in ensuring these principles exist in practice. Teachers supported our bargaining campaign of An Equity Based Project for Students and Educators because we realized that we can’t truly have equity without the ability to organize and collectively advocate for our classrooms through our union.”

–Hayden Gore, President, High Tech Education Collective (HTEC)

HTEC educators moved into the New Year with a successful contract that, for the first time, gives these talented teams of teachers a voice in their shared future with the successful charter school.

Some of the provisions include a restructuring of the pay scale retroactive to July 1, 2022 (10.28% total cost increase) with additional opportunities to reopen the contract for salary enhancement in the future. To address the longstanding problem of keeping teachers at High Tech, a two-tiered retroactive retention bonus was established for 2022-23 ($3,900 or $1,600 depending on placement on salary schedule).

All High Tech teachers were formerly at-will employees, subject to immediate dismissal with virtually no recourse. HTEC successfully added the protection of “For cause dismissal” language after a 3-year probationary period.

Wellness and worktime issues were addressed through language guaranteeing lunch breaks, and 10 days of sick leave that carries over from year-to-year; including three days of personal business leave. Class size caps for all grades were established, including maximums of 25 for elementary, 29 for middle school, 34 for 9th grade, and 32 for 10th–12th grades. Special Education student caseloads were capped at 22 for elementary and 24 for secondary.

The new contract also provides a wage replacement benefit that offsets the gap between State Disability Insurance and a member’s salary for up to 6 weeks–effectively creating a 6-week paid maternity leave program for their educators.

Because no official codified evaluation system was established, an inconsistent pattern of treatment emerged at High Tech sites. HTEC will participate in a joint committee to create their first-ever evaluation process and build an effective evaluative model.

HTEC leaders and members have shown through diligence, patience, solidarity and hard work, members can build a better future for themselves–and their students.

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