Teachers at Milner/Jumoke, one of the schools absorbed into the Commissioner’s Network, did not ratify the Memorandum of Understanding — a move that has stirred the Superintendent to threaten holding the Hartford Federation of Teachers union accountable and taking the matter to arbitration. According to state law, the matter would go to expedited arbitration if rejected by teachers; it is not driven there by the Superintendent. Kishimoto had expected the Ratification Agreement regarding the Turnaround Plan for the Commissioner’s Network School to be rubberstamped.
The staff of Milner/Jumoke decided to reject the MoU on September 13th, with six voting in favor and eighteen voting against.
According to Kishimoto, the school will not receive state funding if the MoU is not accepted.
In an email to Matt Poland, Chair of the Board of Education, the Superintendent wrote:
I will be holding the HFT accountable to the MOU that they signed and if necessary will allow this to go to arbitration. We stand on strong legal ground. I will be reaching out to the Commissioner around expediting this matter since it does mean withholding of our funds until this matter is resolved. The ratification of the MOU should have been purely procedural and Andrea should have taken on the responsibility for emphasizing that she supports this and has signed the MOU. I will be sending out a letter to teachers at Milner by the end of the day.
The false assumption expressed in another email, this time from the Superintendent to Andrea Johnson, is that the staff at Milner/Jumoke would vote whichever way the President of the Hartford Federation of Teachers tells them.
This summer, Jumoke — a charter school — took over Milner, a public school in the North East neighborhood. Hiring decisions were made in the weeks before school began, with little time remaining for the adequate training of new staff.
The takeover has been given a mixed reception by parents of students at Milner.
The Board of Education meets tonight at 5:30 at the Environmental Sciences Magnet School at Mary Hooker (440 Broadview Terrace). The beginning of the meeting is open to the public and there is time reserved for public comment; however, the meeting will be followed by an Executive Session to “discuss collective bargaining agreement with Hartford Educational Support Personnel Local 82.”