SEA stands by offer to accept fact-finder's report as binding

During a press conference August 14, the Springfield Education Association reiterated its willingness to accept the entire report of Fact-finder Leslie A. Williamson, Jr., as binding. 

"We don't agree with all of Williamson's recommendations," said SEA President Timothy Collins, "but we respect his integrity and impartiality, and his concern not only for the children of Springfield, but for the city's finances, as well."

The 293-page report, based on eight days of testimony and 143 documentary exhibits from the SEA and the Finance Control Board, was issued to both parties on Aug. 1. 

"The fact-finder's report is fair to both sides," Collins said.

The fact-finder soundly rejects the FCB's demand for a teacher evaluation system that would base raises for all teachers on individual student performance. "The fact-finder recognizes that the school department has not yet even assembled the data that such an experiment would require," Collins said. "The SEA has long held that such an approach would drive outstanding teachers away from our most difficult-to-teach students and have many other negative effects.

"Moreover," he continued, "the fact-finder has recognized that a sensible compensation system, along with compensation levels that acknowledge our teachers' role in building our community's future, is urgently needed to stop the mass departures that have put our schools and students at risk."

Collins concluded, "Just as Superintendent Burke has recently cited education levels and years of service as reasons for granting pay raises to principals, the fact-finder has upheld our contention that a compensation system taking both of these criteria into account is the best way for Springfield to attract and retain excellent teachers."