We want to welcome back all employees of Jefferson Parish! It felt like the summer would never come, and now we are preparing for a new school year! We hope you spent some quality time with family and friends for some much-needed rest and rejuvenation after the most difficult year in living history.
We have been hard at work over the summer, negotiating a Collective Bargaining Agreement that is guaranteed for the next 3 years, with language that has been added for the first time in six years. We are also excited to present several new and returning JFT member committees.
New Collective Bargaining Agreement Highlights
The staff would like to thank all our dedicated members who took the time to complete the Collective Bargaining Survey. The input and ideas generated by this survey guided our discussions at the negotiating table. Your top concerns were evaluations, observations, duty, lesson plans, and class size. We would like to highlight a few articles of the new Agreement.
Article III: School Day
This article was presented by the district to equalize the workday. Teachers are compensated based on 7.5-hour workday which includes a 30-minute duty free lunch. Previously, not everyone’s workday reflected these hours.
Article V: Planning Time
All teachers shall have an uninterrupted planning and preparation time each day equal to the length of a daily class period. The planning and preparation time shall be duty free unless circumstances clearly make it unfeasible and no other alternatives exist to rectify the problem. The planning and preparation time shall be used judiciously and appropriately and may include collaborative planning, grade level/departmental meetings, professional development, and study groups, provided such shall occur no more than twice each week.
Article VI: Duty (new)
Teachers still receive a daily 30-minute duty free lunch, and one hour when students are not present. Additionally, duty must be assigned on a fair and equitable basis and cannot exceed 30 minutes per day.
Article VII: Evaluations (new)
The new contract requires an in-service session dedicated to making sure teachers understand the evaluation process, prior to the first cycle of evaluations. This was the number one concern on the Collective Bargaining Survey.
Article VIII: Lesson Plans (new)
Each school will now be required to form a committee, consisting of at least one teacher and one administrator to develop a lesson plan format for that school. They must be aligned to district guidelines. Once approved by the principal, each school will have a standard lesson template that will be a useful tool for the teacher to instruct their students.
Article IX: Teachers as Subs (new)
A major highlight of the new CBA, is that teachers will be paid at a rate of $17.50 per hour anytime they substitute for another class during their planning period. This past practice is now guaranteed as part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Article XI: Class Size (new)
This article ensures that the school system will adhere to state guidelines regarding class size. It was acknowledged that actual class size may not reflect predicted enrollment at the start of the school year, but every attempt should be made to quickly adhere to state guidelines. If problems persist, consult with your administrator, then contact the JFT office for assistance.
Last year, the federal government provided funds that allowed for leave related to COVID. They also mandated that all employers provide employees additional paid time off in order to self-quarantine when they have been exposed to or infected with COVID-19. This federal mandate expired in December of 2020, but JFT was able to advocate for an extension of these days until June 30th of this year. We will continue to work with the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and our national, The American Federation of Teachers, to advocate for a further extension of this important policy, so that no staff feel pressured to be in school when they could infect others.
Mask Mandate Reinstated
This afternoon, Governor Edwards and health care professionals reinstated a state-wide mask mandate effective Wednesday, August 4th. This pertains to every person five years of age and older, and all persons (including kindergarteners) in Louisiana public schools. This announcement comes on the heels of devastating information about COVID infections, hospitalizations, and spread of the delta variant, particularly among children. The mask mandate will remain in effect until at least September 1st. All people in Jefferson Parish Public Schools are required to wear masks while in the building, with few exceptions.
We know that this is a stressful time for many of you. Our organizers will be visiting your worksites very soon to provide informational updates and answer your questions and concerns. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our office if you require assistance! JFT is here for you!