Racine Unified administrators sent an email to school board members and staff Tuesday night proposing several changes to the district’s employee handbook including changes around how seniority is used in hiring decisions and pay.
Communications director Stacy Tapp said the changes are designed to have a positive impact on student achievement; improve efficiencies that lead more quickly to a balanced budget; and to support district employees by providing a great work environment.
Amongst a handful of relatively minor changes are four significant differences:
- Assignment & Transfer: Principals now are limited to interviewing only the top two candidates for any open positions at their schools. The proposed change would give principals the flexibility to interview all qualified candidates. “We feel this will be the most impactful because it really is about picking the best candidate,” Tapp added.
- Payroll Schedules: Currently, payday varies among the employee groups. The proposed change would put all district employees will be on the same bi-weekly schedule, including teachers who choose the 22-week payday schedule.
- Flat rate payment: Teachers are now paid a percentage of their salary if they teach an extra class during the school year and/or participate in additional activities like professional development or committees. The proposal would instead pay a flat rate instead, and, if approved, would save the district $500,000.
- Sick leave: Full-time employees are only allowed to take a sick day if they are sick. Under the proposed change, sick days could be used to care for a sick child; the handbook states employees can earn up to 10 sick days per year.
The district is asking staff input on the proposals this week. Superintendent Lolli Haws is expected to formally present the changes to the board at the April 27 board meeting as part of her superintendent report.
Aaron Eick, vice president of the Racine Education Association, said he was surprised to read about the changes in other media sources.
“We received a proposal from the superintendent late last night,” he said. “Many teachers will see the information for the first time as presented in the Journal Times. We are studying the proposal and we will look to our members for next steps and a response.”