The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Lawrence Public Schools: Update on Teacher Contract

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
April 18, 2014.

At the April 29, 2014 meeting, the Board will hear a brief presentation on the new collective bargaining agreement between the Lawrence Public Schools (through Receiver Jeffrey C. Riley) and the Lawrence Teachers Union (LTU). The contract reinforces reforms that have been put in place over the past two years of receivership, while providing key employment protections, fair compensation, and new opportunities for teachers.

The new agreement is a tribute to the parties' collaborative work over a year of negotiation, including mediation sessions, and to their commitment to improve educational outcomes for every student in Lawrence. The agreement, which the LTU membership ratified on April 2, 2014, recognizes the Receiver's authority under the Achievement Gap Act to make rapid, dramatic changes to accelerate improvement for all students. It also reflects the terms originally outlined in the district's Level 5 Turnaround Plan, which have been modified over the past year through extensive discussions with the LTU leadership. Lawrence teachers had been without a contract since the prior collective bargaining agreement expired in August 2010, more than a year before the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted in November 2011 to designate Lawrence a Level 5 or "chronically underperforming" district and place it into receivership.

The new agreement will allow the Receiver to remain faithful to the components of the district's Level 5 Turnaround Plan. The plan recognizes that great teachers are the most important factor in improving student achievement, and the schools in which they teach need autonomy to make key decisions about their students' needs. Among the major provisions of the new agreement are:

We have invited Lawrence Receiver Jeff Riley, Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera, and Lawrence Teachers Union President Frank McLaughlin to attend the April 29 meeting to update the Board on the contract.