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JCPS Budget Talks Upsets Teachers Union

Officials with the Jefferson County Teachers Association say if the school board proceeds with the preliminary budget adopted this week it could challenge the district in court.

The issue is over the elimination of some of the district’s school resource teachers. RTs help certain JCPS schools and teachers with curriculum or student academics. While some RTs work in specific schools, others are located in district offices like Gheens Academy.The district now plans to create a similar position under the title of Goal Clarity Coaches and have them work with individual schools. JCPS officials say this is meant to improve teacher support and should also save the district around $500,000 annually.But JCTA president Brent McKim says the changes will also cut the number of work days that RTs have if they become GCCs and the money lost by teachers without negotiating with the union first is a breach of contract.“If they’re going to make a substantial change to the working conditions--and taking away five days pay certainly does--then they have to negotiate that with us and if they don’t then we’ll seek to compel them to because they’re legally required to,” said McKim.There are over 100 RTs that could be affected if the board approves the move later this year, but JCPS officials say they will be able to apply for the GCC positions.“If it’s a good idea we’ll work with them to implement it. We just have concerns about losing the five days for the academic instructional coaches to work to improve the practice in the buildings for the benefit of the kids," McKim said.Monday's presentation to the board was the first of three proposals the board will see before it adopts a budget in September.The district estimates the budget will be just over $1 billion with 67 percent coming from local sources, 32 percent from the state and under 1 percent from federal funds.JCPS officials project the cost of per-pupil spending from the state will decrease from $3,833 to $3,827.