My husband works for the phone company and I have seen their union really fight for them for years and years. It is amazing to me what they can accomplish with that support behind them. While I don't claim to agree with every choice made by unions, I get it's quite political and you have to fight for fair conditions.
That being said, I don't have a single word of criticism for the union negotiation team in my district because I wasn't there to hear their process. I wasn't there to know the reasons behind the changes they have proposed. I do know some folks aren't happy with the changes but it is a 1-year contract extension and since not a single person knows what will happen this fall with COVID-19, I don't think we should really be griping at all. Just my opinion.
What I am quite intrigued about, however, is that they are considering switching the elementary and secondary start time. This means the elementary students would begin at 7:45 and get out at 2:50 while the secondary students would start at 8:35 and get out at 3:35.
I know some people are adamantly opposed to this and I can see how, for secondary, it will really mess with 6th period for sports, but I am quite curious to see how it works out. Fortunately for me, since I am across K-8, I get to make my own schedule and thus I can follow the same schedule I had before (which is now the elementary schedule).
We had planned for my ESL class at the middle school to be 1st hour this coming year. We had it 6th hour this year because none of us knew, logistically, how things would really work out with the new SFA reading program in the elementary schools. It just seemed to make more sense. But going forward, my mentor and I agreed that 1st hour is really the place to have it - get them while they are fresh!
I do not know right now how this will affect the schedule at the elementary school level because the contract is not yet ratified, but assuming this goes through, I would still be able to end my day at 2:50 like I normally would (well 3:00 when teachers are allowed to leave). Depending upon how the scheduling actually falls, it might be wise to spend my mornings at the middle school and my afternoons in my elementary schools (I'll have two instead of one this coming year). That would make leaving at 3 not a weird thing because the other staff would be leaving as well.
I think it will come down to lunch schedules and stuff before I can decide (and since no one, again, has a clue what school will actually look like this fall with COVID-19, everything I "plan" is simply speculation because it could all go right out the window!), but it would be kind of nice if I could schedule myself to be at my middle school through the first three periods of the day and then at my elementary schools in the afternoon (three days at one school and two days at the other).
I also really wonder how this will work for the secondary kids. I couldn't believe how many kids I would see sleeping in 1st or 2nd hour because it's just so early -- it will be interesting to see if the later start time actually helps with attendance and behavior.
I'm all about change and innovation. I know many folks are upset at the change, but I think change is hard no matter what. You can't possibly please everyone. I guess I look at it this way: it's a one year extension so we can look at is as a sort of experiment. If it doesn't work out, we don't do it again the following year. But who knows, it could radically change our performance levels and be the best decision ever made. Only time will tell.