Bristol Federation of Teachers

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Negotiations for Next Contract Underway! — August 18, 2014

Negotiations for Next Contract Underway!

Today, the BFT negotiation team met to finalize proposals for the successor contract. The team consist of Dave Hayes (Edgewood teacher and BFT President), John Stavens (BEHS teacher and At Large VP), Sandy Adams (Ivy Drive teacher and At Large VP), Mike Reynolds (SSS teacher and At Large VP) Vince Jennetta (NEMS teacher and BFT Secretary), Paul Pinnette (BCHS teacher and BFT Treasurer), Bob Merrick (CHMS teacher and Middle School VP), Kathryn Morales (preschool teacher and Elementary VP), Eric Steinfeld (BEHS teacher and steward), Ray LeCara (BEHS teacher and steward), Dave Lattimer (BEHS teacher and steward), and Dave Luchina (NEMS teacher and steward).

Although the contents of negotiations are kept confidential until over, overall progress will be updated here regularly.

BFT Contract Survey — June 5, 2014

BFT Contract Survey

Below is the link for the survey that will be used to advise the BFT when negotiations for the next contract begin in August. The next contract will be effective July 1, 2015 to June 30 2018. All BFT members are asked to complete the survey before June 20, 2014.

What issues are important to you? Rank them in order of importance and make additional comments. The survey is designed to take 5 to 10 minutes.

Here is the link:

New Contract Begins today; Layoff Update — July 1, 2012

New Contract Begins today; Layoff Update

July 1 is the start of the new contract. The contract runs from July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2015. Members are advised to familiarize themselves with the contract, particularly changes made to the sixth year degree requirements. The contract is available in PDF format using the link at the top of this page.

As of today, those individuals who received layoff notices this past spring are no longer employees of the Bristol Public Schools, but are still subject to the recall provisions as outlined in the contract. Open positions will initially be made available internally to current employees. Then, as those positions are filled and other positions are made available (i.e. when the dominoes stop falling), those laid off will be recalled based on seniority and proper certification. It is only after this that positions will be made available to external candidates.

Bristol Press Editorial and BFT Response — January 23, 2012

Bristol Press Editorial and BFT Response

The Bristol Press ran an editorial on Thursday, January 19 attacking the recently approved BFT contract. You can read it here

BFT President David Hayes wrote a response, which was published in the Bristol Press Sunday, January 22.

The recent editorial in the Bristol Press condemning binding arbitration and urging lawmakers to change the laws which govern it was both short on facts as well as history. Arbitrators are charged with following seven criteria when rendering a decision, chief among those is considering the “financial capability of the town or towns in the school district” This was a glaring oversight of a basic fact on the part of the Bristol Press. Binding arbitration is used in Connecticut to resolve contract disputes and avoids the uglier alternative – labor strikes, which are disruptive and damaging to the parties involved.
Regarding the recently approved teacher contract, which was the target of the editor’s venom, the contract in question is the product of a positive and collaborative process conducted by the Board of Education and the Bristol Federation of Teachers. No one gets into teaching to get rich, but they do want a fair wage and rely on organized labor to help achieve that. As your paper has pointed out recently, Bristol is in a fortunate position due to the planning and foresight of city leaders over the last few decades which have left robust pension and rainy days funds. The workload of teachers isn’t dependent upon the vagary of the global marketplace. Sales and production may be down in the private sector, but class sizes are full, and students with social and behavioral problems are rampant. Despite this, we are one of the top urban districts in the state. Bristol teachers deserve the modest gains contained in the contract, and the city can afford it.
David Hayes
Bristol Federation of Teachers
Contract Passes City Council — January 10, 2012
Tentative Agreement Reached for Next Contract — November 10, 2011
New middle school proposal revealed. — September 29, 2011

New middle school proposal revealed.

With the proposed changes to the middle school program, many teachers will be adversely effected. Some will be displaced and forced to change job positions, and although the exact numbers will remain unknown until the spring of 2012, some teachers will almost certainly face layoffs. In the coming days this web site will be updated often to reflect developments and bring members accurate information.

To that end, here are Articles 32 (Transfers) and 33 (Reduction in Force) of our contract, which delineates the process each. For those teachers in sections facing possible reductions or eliminations, you are urged to attend the informational meeting at the BOE on Monday, October 3 at 3:00 PM.


32:1 The Board of Education is committed to employing the very best personnel for each and every position in the school system with the assignment and transfer of teachers being the responsibility of the Superintendent of Schools subject to the provision hereto.

32:2 Teachers will receive notification of their assignment for the ensuing school year, under normal circumstances, not later than June 1. In the event of a change in pertinent circumstances or conditions, teaching assignments will be changed accordingly with prompt verbal and written notice to the affected teacher(s).

32:3 Transfers Caused by Position Elimination

32:3.1 If a 6-12 position in a subject area is eliminated, the least senior teacher in the affected subject area will be relocated if a position exists within an area in which the teacher is certified. If a position requiring elementary certification is eliminated, the least senior teacher at the grade level in the building where the elimination takes place will be affected. Priority will be given to placing teachers in subject/grade areas where they are currently teaching.

32:3.2 If a city-wide position (i.e. Art, Music, Special Education, etc.) is eliminated, the least senior teacher in the city-wide position shall be affected.

32:3.3 Those teachers who need to be placed into positions due to elimination of assignments cited in 32:3.1 and 32:3.2 hereinabove will inform the Superintendent, on a form mutually developed by the BFT and Central Office, of their preference of grade assignment, school, subject area as they apply.

32:4 Posting of Positions

32:4.1 All vacancies not filled pursuant to 32:3 herein above shall be posted. A vacancy shall be defined as those bargaining unit positions, found in

Schedules A-1 and A-2 of this Agreement, which become available due to death, retirement, leaves of absence, discharge, resignation or creation of a new position by the Board.

32:4.2 Vacancies shall be adequately publicized, including a notice in every school, a notice on the official Board of Education website, and written notification to the BFT President, as far in advance of the date of filling such a vacancy as possible, but in no event less than one (1) week in advance.

32:4.3 After March 1st, all September vacancies shall be forwarded to the BFT President and posted in all school buildings as they occur until the end of the school year. After the close of the school year, all vacancies shall be posted in writing and on the Board of Education website for a period of three (3) full business days. The BFT shall receive copies of all such postings.

32:4.4 The notice of vacancies shall set forth the name of the position and qualifications for the position and any special characteristics of the position to which individual qualifications or abilities may be relevant.

32:4.5 Individuals who desire to apply for such vacancies shall file their application in writing with the office of the Superintendent within the time limit specified in the notice.

32:4.6 Vacancies shall be filled on the basis of certification, qualifications (which may include demonstrated performance), experience, and seniority.

32:4.7 For tutorial and similar positions which become available from time to time, a general notice shall be posted by the appropriate director, supervisor or administrator at the beginning of each school year informing teachers of the opportunity to file applications for such positions.

32:4.8 A teacher hired for a position available as the result of another teacher’s approved leave shall not be displaced if the teacher on leave resigns, unless displacement is required to satisfy provisions of Article 33 and any other relevant provisions of this contract.

32:5 Voluntary Transfers and Exchange of Positions

32:5.1 Any teacher who voluntarily applies for a vacancy shall be granted an interview for that position and shall be notified in writing of the recommendation of the interviewing committee and the reasons for its recommendations.


  1. Interview committees shall consist of teachers and administrators. The school administration shall establish reasonable procedures for assuring that no members of the interview committee are predisposed for or against any of the applicants, and such procedures shall include advance notice to the applicants of interview committee participants so that any concerns can be addressed before any interview takes place. It is recognized that the final decision regarding the composition of the interview committee rests with the administration.


  1. Members of any interview committee, who are not certified administrators in the school system, shall have no access to the personnel files or evaluations of any of the applications, except for any such materials which are presented to the interview committee by the applicant him/herself.


  1. All members of any interview committee shall be instructed by the school administration that the provisions of Section 32:4.6 shall govern the selection process.


  1. Interviews of all internal applicants shall be completed, and the interview committee shall notify all internal applicants of its decision in writing before considering candidates from outside the school system or satisfying any other provisions of Article 32:5.2.

32:5.2 Voluntary transfers to vacancies not filled by the process cited herein above shall be filled first by teachers on the recall list by certification and seniority and then by applicants from outside the school system. No new teachers shall be hired to fill any positions for which a teacher on the recall list is certified.

32:5.3 Teachers in special education shall be able to exchange positions with teachers in regular education and/or other types of positions in special education for a period of one year under the following conditions:

a. Two teachers must mutually agree to the switch.

b. Both teachers must be appropriately certified.

c. The exchange of positions is subject to the approval by the Superintendent.

d. The mutual exchange will be effective at the beginning of a school year and will be in force for the entire school year.

32:6 Administrative Decisions

32:6.1 Dispositions of all requests for transfer effective in September shall be made known in writing to the requesting teacher by the close of the school year, or as soon as practicable thereafter. Disposition of all other requests for transfer or reassignment shall be known in the same manner promptly after being acted on.

32:6.2 Involuntary transfers may only be made based upon a decision by the Central Office Administration. When any principal or supervisor makes a recommendation to the Central Office for an involuntary transfer, the affected teacher shall be notified in writing by the Central Office and given an opportunity for consultation prior to the decision with the Superintendent or his designee or the principal or supervisor who made the recommendation. Within seven (7) school days following this consultation, the teacher shall be notified of the decision, with reasons.

32:6.3 The Superintendent reserves the right to make transfers, voluntary or involuntary, between the closing of the school year and the opening of the new school year to meet developing circumstances in total staff utilization. If a teacher is unavailable for consultation because of summer vacation or other cause, the involuntary transfer may be imposed on a provisional basis pending consultation and review procedures.

32:7 Review Procedures

32:7.1 In the case of involuntary transfers, or the denial of a request for a September voluntary transfer, the teacher may request a hearing with the Board of Education. Such teacher shall be entitled to Federation representation if desired.

32:7.2 Such request must be made within seven (7) calendar days of receipt by the teacher of notification to the teacher of the final administrative decision concerning such transfer or request for transfer, and the Boardshall hold such hearing within twenty-one (21) calendar days of receipt of the request for hearing.

32:7.3 The Board shall make a decision and notify the teacher in writing of such decision within seven (7) calendar days following such hearing.

32:7.4 The above time limits may be extended by mutual agreement.

32:7.5 The application of the procedural requirements set forth in this Article, but not the educational rationale for the transfer decision, shall be subject to the grievance procedure, including Level Four. A claim that the transfer decision was not based on educational considerations shall be subject to the grievance procedure including Level Four, with the burden of proof on the claimant to establish the basis for the decision by clear and convincing proof.



33:1 The Board has the sole and exclusive prerogative to eliminate professional staff positions, consistent with the provisions of State statutes and the Agreement.

33:2 There will be no layoffs during the term of this Agreement without prior consultation with the BFT.

33:3 No tenure teacher (as defined in Section 10-151(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes as amended) shall be laid off when a position exists which is either vacant or occupied by a non-tenure teacher and for which the tenure teacher is certified.

33:4 It is understood that a layoff is a termination of employment subject to administrative and/or judicial review in the manner set forth in the subsections of Section 10-151 of the Connecticut General Statutes, as amended, and in no other manner. In the case of judicial review under those statutory provisions, the parties agree that the provisions of this Article can and should be admitted to the court.

33:5 Seniority shall be defined as the length of continuous teaching service in the Bristol School System. In the event two or more teachers have identical lengths of continuous teaching service, the following criteria shall be applied in the order listed:

a. previous regular teaching service in Bristol.

b. previous long-term substitute service in Bristol.

c. previous per-diem substitute service in Bristol.

d. date that letter of intent to hire was sent by the Board.

e. date that letter of job acceptance was received by the Board.

f. date that most recent application was stamped in at the Board’s office.

g. date on most recent application.

33:6 Procedure:

33:6.1 If layoffs are necessary because of elimination of position, the teacher(s) to be laid off shall be determined by the following procedure.

33:6.2 The least senior teacher in the affected high school or middle school subject area or elementary grade level will be displaced from that subject area or grade level.

33:6.3 Such displaced teacher may elect, in lieu of being laid off, to displace in turn the least senior teacher in the same school level (high school, middle school, or elementary school) who occupies a position in the same certification area in which that teacher has been teaching.

33:6.4 Such teacher who is displaced in turn may elect to finally displace the least senior teacher in the school system who holds a position for which that teacher is certified.

33:6.5 In each case, the displacing teacher must have more seniority than the displaced teacher, or must proceed to the next step of the above process.

33:6.6 The elimination of other systemwide certified positions (i.e. special ed, school psychologist, school social worker, art, etc.) shall be governed by the same reduction in force principles and/or provisions cited in this Article.

33:7 Recall

33:7.1 The name of any teacher who has been laid off shall be placed upon a reappointment list and remain on such list for a period of time equal to their length of continuous employment in Bristol, not to exceed three (3) years, provided such teacher does not refuse a reappointment. Teachers may, if agreed to by the Superintendent, refuse a position once without jeopardizing their position on the reappointment list.

33:7.2 Any teacher on the reappointment list shall receive a written offer of reappointment by certified mail to his last known address at least fifteen (15) days prior to the date of re-employment. The teacher shall accept or reject the appointment, in writing, within five (5) days. If he accepts the appointment, he shall receive a written contract at least five (5) days prior to the effective date of re-appointment where possible.

33:7.3 No new teacher shall be hired to fill a position for which a teacher on the reappointment list is certified. In cases where more than one teacher on the reappointment list has exercised certification (i.e., has experience within the certification) for a particular position to be filled, teachers shall be recalled by seniority. In cases where no teacher has exercised certification for a particular position to be filled, teachers certified shall be recalled by seniority.

33:7.4 No teacher who has been laid off shall be entitled to payment or accrual of any compensation or fringe benefits, whether or not he remains on the reappointment list. However, a teacher who is reappointed from the list shall be entitled to reinstatement of any benefits earned or accrued at the time of layoff, and further accrual of salary increments and fringe benefits shall pick up where they left off, except that credit for contractual service as a teacher while on layoff shall be granted. No years of layoff will be credited as years of service for compensation or retirement purposes. However, except as provided in Article 33:3 and/or applicable law, any teacher who is laid off shall retain the seniority held on the date of layoff.

33:7.5 A teacher on the recall list shall have the right to continue, at his option, in the group plans for medical and life insurance at his own expense, subject to any restrictions imposed by the carrier.

33:7.6 For purposes of seniority and layoffs:

a. A leave of absence does not interrupt years of continuous service, but seniority is determined by cumulative times of actual active teaching service.

b. Regarding fractional time, there is no difference between full-time service and part-time service.

c. There is no difference between “Interim” contract and regular contract; furthermore, no distinction shall be made between service under the various types of teaching certification.

33:7.7 All transfers as provided for Article 32 (Vacancies and Transfers) shall take place prior to any teacher being recalled to any vacant position.

Negotiations Begin! — August 30, 2011

Negotiations Begin!

Tuesday afternoon the first session of negotiations will get underway. At this initial meeting, the BFT and BOE teams will exchange initial proposals and clarify the intent of each  (i.e. what problem is being addressed via each proposal). We also will agree to ground rules for the entire negotiation process and schedule future negotiation meetings.

The BFT negotiations team is: Dave Hayes (President), John Stavens (At-Large VP), Mike Reynolds (At-Large VP), JoAnn Truszkowski (At-Large VP), Ray LeCara (Middle School VP), Kathryn Dickman (Elementary VP), Paul Pinete (Treasurer), Vince Jennetta (Secretary), and Gerard Plourde (BCHS Steward). This team was proposed by BFT President Dave Hayes and unanimously approved by the officers and stewards present at our June Executive Council meeting.

Although bound by a confidentiality agreement during the negotiation process, the BFT will share as much information as possible with members using this web site. Sign up for email updates to get reliable and timely info.

BFT Negotiation Team — August 22, 2011

BFT Negotiation Team

Using BFT member feedback gained from the spring survey, and after considering pertinent experiences throughout the duration of the current contract, a preliminary draft of proposals has been developed for the successor BFT/BOE contract. The BFT’s negotiation team will meet this week to finalize the list.