A Dayton Public Schools teacher strike disrupting the end of this school year may not be likely, given only three weeks left in the year, and the need for both a 10-day notice to the district and a full-membership union vote.
But what happens if no contract is reached by June 30, when DPS’ existing deal with the Dayton Education Association expires? There are at least three issues that would be in limbo on July 1 in that case.
Dayton Public Schools is planning expanded summer school this year, with many of its own teachers working those classrooms. The program will be 7 to 8 weeks, doubling last year’s summer school, and would overlap June and July.
DEA President David Romick said that as of Friday, if no new contract was reached by June 30, the union’s direction would be for summer school teachers to continue working.
“As of this moment, yes,” Romick said. “We told our members (Thursday) night that we will get back to them regarding the dynamics of potentially extending the contract. Our feeling was, if we were in a position to extend the contract because negotiations seemed to be productive, we would likely do that on a month-by-month basis.”
Assistant Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli told Dayton’s school board on Tuesday that more than 600 students had signed up for summer school, although those numbers would drop from June to July.
There’s also a separate July-only session specifically targeting third-grade students who have not yet passed the state’s third-grade reading test, which is required for students to move on to fourth grade.
Romick said the school district offers professional development classes for teachers and other staff during June and July, and the union will continue to encourage teachers to participate.
“A number of them will need it to renew their licenses, and it’s also supplemental income for our teachers,” Romick said. “Like with summer school, we would not be in a position to discourage teachers, at least at this time, from participating in those things.”
Superintendent Rhonda Corr has made improved teacher training a focus for the district since taking over DPS’ top job last summer.
Romick said DPS usually has student leadership programs running at certain school buildings in July, with teachers involved in that process.
He said the several Dayton Public Schools buildings that received School Improvement Grants from the state will also have training planned for July, with teachers in those buildings participating in the training.
Four years ago, when DPS teachers’ last contract expired, no deal was reached in the summer, and teachers continued working into the next school year under the terms of the expired contract. A new agreement was finally signed in December 2013.
Romick said the difference this time is the “sheer volume” of new proposals on the table, both to change existing language, and to introduce new initiatives. He said the “usual packet” of proposals that DEA brought to the negotiating table this year was “dwarfed” by the number of issues raised by the district.