June 24, 2013
Provided to Florida Public Employees
By: Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings
Pines City Manager Charlie Dodge sprung the deal at the last minute. From CBSMiami:
The question of whether to privatize the city run charter schools followed contract disputes between the Broward Teachers Union and city leaders who said the city doesn’t have enough money to run the highly-successful Pines Charter schools unless there are major salary cuts for the city’s 375 teachers.
Pines leaders have been warning that the city’s seven-school charter system for months that it was struggling financially. In recent weeks, the city asked its teachers, who are represented by BTU, to accept a pay cut that would cause them to be paid less than teachers who work for the much-larger Broward School District
As a result, Pembroke Pines city officials responded with the surprise plan to privatize by partnering with Charter Schools, USA, a Fort Lauderdale-based firm that is one of the nation’s largest for-profit charter school companies
The move to privatize was spearheaded by Pines City Manager Charlie Dodge, who also oversees the city’s charter schools. He sent a mass email Monday that sought to reassure parents. Dodge wrote that the schools were struggling to close a $2.1 million deficit, and he blasted the teachers union for insisting on more teacher raises as opposed to trying to find a workable budget solution.
Dodge’s email downplayed the massive staff turnover that’s expected if Charter Schools, USA is brought in. The city manager noted that the same school principals and vice-principals will remain, and “teachers will have the opportunity to be re-employed by this new organization.”
In the end a deal was reached and Charter Schools USA was left holding the bag. But it’s clear that Dodge leveraged BTU into a deal by holding Charter Schools USA over their heads. It must have been quite a 24 hours for Dodge as he was facing considerable opposition to his plan. This from Sun Sentinel reporter Heather Carney:
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