Holyoke Teachers Association President Gus Morales back in the classroom

Gus Morales HTA President Gus Morales on his first day back at school.

Holyoke Teachers Association President Gus Morales and the Holyoke School Committee have reached an agreement that returns the educator to the classroom today, Monday, November 24, 2014. The HTA had filed a grievance in connection with Morales’ non-renewal at the end of the 2013-14 school year, and the Holyoke Teachers Association had pursued a claim with the state Department of Labor Relations. After investigating, the DLR scheduled formal hearings on an expedited schedule to determine whether Morales was fired because of his union activism. As part of the agreement to reinstate Morales, he and the school committee issued the following joint statement:

The Holyoke School Committee, the Holyoke Teachers Association and Agustin “Gus” Morales are pleased to announce that they have reached an agreement resolving all legal disputes arising from Mr. Morales’ non-renewal as a teacher at Donahue School at the end of the 2013-2014 School Year.

Terms of the agreement include Mr. Morales’ prompt return as a full-time teacher with the Holyoke Public Schools. Additionally, Mr. Morales and the association have agreed to withdraw as settled all pending grievances and claims, including the complaint that is pending before the Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations.

The school committee was persuaded that an attempt should be made to negotiate a settlement because of issues that arose with the interpretation and implementation of the new evaluation process that was followed in evaluating Mr. Morales’ performance as a teacher during the last school year. Compliance by both parties with the district’s teacher evaluation procedures is of paramount importance. Therefore, the parties have agreed that upon his return, good faith efforts will be made by both Mr. Morales and the district to satisfy their respective responsibilities under the district’s teacher evaluation procedures.

Settlement of this dispute was possible because of a shared belief that our common goal is to stay focused on improving the quality of education in the district, and the further pursuit of litigation, regardless of outcome, would be disruptive and detract from the educational mission of the Holyoke Public Schools. All of the parties are committed to continuing the needed transformation of the quality of education in Holyoke Public Schools. The parties are anxious to move forward in this manner, which they believe is fair and reasonable and in the best interests of the children and families served by all the parties.

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