Youngstown teachers union files grievance against CEO
By Kalea Hall
and Amanda Tonoli
The Youngstown City Schools teachers union has filed a grievance against CEO Krish Mohip for asking the membership to spend more time teaching.
Larry Ellis, Youngstown Education Association president, said some teachers already are working more than their contract time.
The most recent teachers contract states that employees are to serve normal duty hours of seven and a half hours per day. Within the normal duty hours, “the maximum amount of student contact time in teaching assignments shall not exceed 300 minutes per workday for any employee, except when the employee is required to cover the class of another teacher,” the contract states.
“Student contact time” is the time a teacher spends instructionally with his or her students.
The grievance states: “The administration unilaterally increased student contact time outside of the agreement.”
Ellis said he hopes the grievance will set the schedule right and get teachers’ schedules within the allotted time in the contract.
A review of daily school schedules showed a 30- to 35-minute increase for teachers.
“We’re in academic distress,” Mohip said. “We’re one of only two districts in the entire state to be under this form of governance, and we’re going to do whatever we need to do to make sure our children are successful.”
Ellis said he and the administration never agreed upon this change.
“There was some discussion, and [Mohip and his administration] were sending us schedules, but we didn’t get those schedules until after school started,” he said.
The CEO, in a statement issued Friday night, said in part: “It’s my understanding that on the second day of school, the teachers’ union filed three grievances alleging that district leadership violated certain sections of the collective bargaining agreement, which I presume stems from the students’ first instructional day. As I am sure one can imagine, I have been extremely focused on our students and families this first week of school and have been deeply rooted in ensuring our students receive the quality education as described in the strategic plan. That said, I have not had the opportunity to explore the various grievances and, therefore, have no response at this time.”
But he added: “We have set an instructional schedule that will allow our teachers a greater opportunity to have success with our students without adding to the length of their day. In addition, we have built in 18 days for teachers to engage in professional development, planning and preparation. To add, we provided teachers with seven days in their classroom prior to our children’s return. We compensated each teacher for all 25 days. We did so willingly and happily.”
Ellis said the union hopes “to have meetings and figure out what the problem is.”
The student contact time in Youngstown is higher than contact time in some other Valley school districts.
Student contact time in Warren City and Jackson-Milton schools are 250 and 270 minutes per day, respectively, according to their union contracts.
However, the Niles City Schools contract states teachers must have 324 minutes of student contact time per day.
Poland Local Schools had 245 minutes student contact time listed in their union contract, but recently chose to change it. Superintendent David Janofa said the administration and teaching staff agreed to add 25 minutes of instructional or student contact time.
“What it did was, it allowed us to lengthen the school day for children,” he said.