Lowell School Committee contradicting themselves?


Is it just me or does this Lowell School Committee seem to be contradicting themselves.

In June of 2014 they pulled a 2 year contract off the table for Supt. Franco after agreeing to it, then gave her a year contract, pretty much making it clear they had lost faith in her and were done with her.

Now in today’s paper his honor the Mayor is saying that this School Committee has so much faith and belief in Supt. Franco that she along with City Manager Murphy and Atty. Jim Hall have the power to negotiate a contract with the 1650 members of the Teacher’s Union on her way out the door.

The School Committee is in the process of hiring her replacement and yet they want her representing them in contract negotiations with the largest Union in the entire City. How does that make any sense?

The current contract expired last June and United Teachers of Lowell President Paul Georges said teachers and staff are frustrated. He claims that the union has had only one face-to-face meeting with the School Committee, which has handed the process off to different people.

Atty Hall has met with them to set up ground rules according to a couple of school committee members and we also know that Manager Murphy was only brought into these negotiations in early January after getting Special Dispensation from the City Council.

So what have they been doing the past 6 month? If the contract expired in June and they only met once Face to Face and just brought Murphy on in January does that show any indication that they feel it is important?

According to today’s SUN Mayor Rodney Elliott, who chairs the School Committee, said part of the reason negotiations are taking so long is because of provisions in UTL’s proposal.

“Part of the proposal includes requests that will cost millions and millions of dollars, of which the city does not have the money to support,” he said. “We can’t just proceed with approving a contract that includes provisions that will cost millions of dollars when the city doesn’t have that money.”

Really millions and millions? I’d believe a Million considering you are in talks with a Union which includes Teachers, Para-Professionals , Cafeteria workers, Custodians and Security personal.

Name the last time the Mayor voted for a Union contract? He certainly had no qualms giving the current Manager with no experience the same Salary as a 20+ year experienced Manager and didn’t complain when that Manager created a new 3rd Asst. Manager position without Council Approval.

He just voted in support of the largest tax increase in 6 years, yet he now claims that the city doesn’t have money for teachers? Didn’t he and the Manager go on record saying how education was a main priority?

Have they not looked at the numbers that show in 1 year Lowell went from having 8 to having 11 Level 1 and 2 Schools? Or that a district with 20 schools has No level 4 schools? Doesn’t that speak volumes for the work of the teachers and for that matter the Superintendent they are showing the door too?

This Committee under the Ed Reform Act has 3 Major functions – Hire a Supt – Bargain Contracts – Set Policy.

This Committee does seem to flux up contract negotiations with Superintendents (Bahr, Scott, Franco) and now they seem to want to pass the baton on Union negotiations, will they just let the Manager/ City Council set policy for them next??

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