By Dan Haley
Following Monday's continued contract negotiations, representatives of District 97's administration, board and the Oak Park Teachers Association issued a statement affirming progress they are making and saying they won't seek quick compromises to wrap up a contract.
Additionally, the parties released a memo laying out terms for creating a pilot program to develop a model for measuring student growth. In turn, student growth could then be a factor in rating teacher performance. The District 97 elementary school board is expecting to vote on the Memorandum of Understanding at its meeting on Aug. 19.
The pilot program would extend over two years with crafting the model being the goal of year one and a test run of the model in the second year. The pact is clear that the measurement process implemented in year two would carry a "no-consequence" provision, meaning it would not be used to evaluate teacher performance during the 2015-2016 school year.
Parties on both sides of this contract negotiation have been direct in saying the contract offered an opportunity for a wider discussion of educational goals and strategies and how faculty compensation and evaluation, work rules and other contract provisions are tied to those goals.
The negotiating teams will meet again this Monday, Aug. 18. The press release says, "We will continue to work together to finalize the terms of the contract. With that said, we will not compromise the long-term success of this critical endeavor for the sake of expediency. Our primary goal remains the creation of an agreement that will benefit everyone involved and help build a better tomorrow for our community and the children we serve."
The first day of classes for students is Monday, Aug. 25.