Officials: Manchester teachers won't bolt while students await buses
"This MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) places the responsibility of dismissing hundreds of students with the building administration," he added. Manchester Education Association President Benjamin F. Dick, however, said "I don't foresee a mass exodus of teachers five minutes after the bell rings."
The new hours-based calendar expands the instructional day, shortens the number of days in the school year and doubles the number of professional development days for teachers to six.
The agreement makes no change to the total length of the school day, but alters how teachers and students spend that time, officials explained. Classroom instruction will expand at the expense of the time teachers used to spend at the start and end of each day to prepare for classes or staff a duty station, Dick said.
The agreement increases the number of instructional hours for middle and high school students from 990 to 1050.
The longer instructional day allows the school district to reduce the number of days students spend in school from 180 to 175. The school year for teachers will decrease from 183 to 181 days, even with the addition of three more professional development days.
Dick described the new schedule as "an opportunity for us to try and move forward."
"We do need to find areas that we might need to tweak," Dick said.
"I don't see anybody waiting too long to figure out if this is viable or not. But I think everybody understands that we recognize if it is completely undoable ... then I think everybody would try to figure out a solution very quickly," Dick said.
If, for instance, teachers find several weeks into the school year that most students are still in class 10 minutes after the end of the school day or large numbers of teachers aren't able to stay late to monitor dismissals "then we need to address it."
Dick said he first learned the Memorandum of Understanding failed to factor in time needed for elementary teachers to assist with dismissals shortly after it had been signed in April.
Dick said the union has been working on solutions since and offered four to five options to the school district. The union and school district's negotiating team signed an agreement in the summer that would have added five and two minutes to the end of the elementary and middle school days respectively, but he said it was rejected by the school board.