Flint, MI–During its Nov. 16, 2022 meeting, the Flint Community Schools (FCS) Board of Education ratified a union contract and authorized millions in grant funding among other decisions.
Here’s what happened at Wednesday’s meeting:
Ratified contract with the Congress of Flint School Administrators
The Board voted 4-1 to accept a new contract between the district and the Congress of Flint School Administrators, a union which represents 24 administrators at FCS.
Trustee Allen Gilbert was absent and Board Vice President Chris Del Morone voted no, citing a lack of information and discussion.
“We have not had discussion. I have not seen the contract. I don’t know where the money’s coming from,” Del Morone said.
The Board’s vote came after members of the union criticized the Board for delays in negotiations and contract approval.
“Every day that you wait to sign our contract is money that we don’t have to do the things that we need to do,” Eddie Thomas, principal of Eisenhower Elementary School and president of the Congress of Flint School Administrators, said during public comment.
Although the union’s last contract was set to end on June 30, Thomas said negotiation of a new contract between the Board, the administration and the union didn’t begin until April.
He said that process was “more of a dictatorship than negotiations,” and the district failed to honor the prior contract’s terms of increasing pay based on administrators’ years of experience and performance.
Nevertheless, Thomas said, the union compromised and ratified the new contract on Nov. 8.
Shalonda Byas, principal at Brownell STEM Academy and secretary of the Congress of Flint School Administrators, added to Thomas’ criticism, noting that the Board’s inaction on the new contract was causing financial hardships for administrators.
“Because of the Board’s failure to start negotiations in a timely manner as well as approve our contract, I, as well as many others, have lost and continue to lose wages in a district that already pays its administrators 26 to 30 percent less than all administrators in Genesee County,” Byas said.
Board President Carol McIntosh said that the Board had tabled the contract last week as it didn’t have legal counsel available at the time.
The fully ratified contract includes an overall 3.75 percent increase in wages for the 2022 to 2023 academic year, and another 3.75 percent increase for the 2023 to 2024 school year.
Authorized personnel recommendations
The board voted 5-0 to approve personnel recommendations, which included the hiring of two teachers, two student success technicians, a Title I field monitor and an administrative assistant.
Authorized the purchase of Discovery Education Curriculum
The board voted 5-0 to purchase the Discovery Education curriculum as part of science education for kindergarten through fifth-grade students in the district.
The curriculum will cost a little over $285,000 and will be paid from the district’s third round of COVID-19 relief funds, or Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds, for the fiscal year of 2023.
Authorized an audio-visual consultant for the renovation of Potter Elementary School’s Auditorium
The board voted 5-0 to bring in an audio-visual consultant for an auditorium renovation at Potter Elementary. The agreement costs $19,580, which will be pulled from the district’s general fund.
Authorized amended ESSER III grant
The board voted 5-0 to increase spending with the district’s third installment of ESSER funding by more than $16.2 million.
According to FCS Assistant Superintendent Keiona Murphy, the additional funds will be dedicated to utilities, technology, furniture, phone services and library and classroom supplies.
Earlier this year, the Board authorized spending over $66.2 million in ESSER III funds, and the Board’s Nov. 16 amendment brings that number up to nearly $82.5 million.
The district’s overall allocation of ESSER III funding amounts to over $99.4 million.
Authorized amended literacy grant funding
The board voted 5-0 to authorize spending more than $1.1 million with a literacy grant, known as the Michigan Comprehensive Literacy State Development Project Grant.
Last year, the Michigan Department of Education announced that FCS was one of five school districts in the state to be awarded with the 5-year grant of nearly $3.2 million. The district is currently at the end of its second year of implementing the grant.
In an interview with Flint Beat, DeLynn Smith, comprehensive literacy facilitator of the grant, said the funding allows FCS to focus on building scholars’ and families’ enthusiasm for literacy. That includes hosting authors, family literacy nights and book fairs. Further, Smith said the grant provides funding for professional development and learning materials around literacy instruction.