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Teachers Prepare for Historic Schedule Vote

January 21, 2022

Prospect teachers will vote to decide next year’s schedule next week, with the vote occurring on Jan. 25-27. The vote will decide whether next year’s schedule will follow the traditional eight-period schedule or continue with the current A/B block schedule, and the announcement of the results will be made on Jan. 28, Friday morning.

Timothy McDermott, teacher and Head Building Representative for the Education Association says that the process of this year’s vote will be virtually the same as last year’s. 

In last year’s vote, Prospect failed to reach the 60% threshold required to continue with a block schedule; however, it was decided to continue with the block schedule for the current school year in spite of this to more effectively limit COVID-19 transmissions and make contact tracing easier.

The reason that the block schedule needs 60% of votes to pass rather than just a simple majority is that, according to McDermott, because block scheduling is still the “new” schedule. It is considered new because last year’s vote did not actually make block scheduling the de facto schedule for the school, but rather it started a two-year pilot for the block schedule.

That pilot is still in effect until next year, making it still a temporary schedule in terms of the school’s logistics. Thus, because switching to the “new” block schedule would mean a major change in working conditions for teachers, as stipulated in the teachers’ contract, it requires a higher threshold of votes to pass.

Furthermore, now that vaccines and booster shots are widely available to students, McDermott says, there is no chance that the decision will be overridden due to COVID-19 as it was last year.

Neither proposed schedule would be different from the ones that existed beforehand, according to McDermott. However, next school year the block schedule pilot will end, making teachers vote another time concerning the two schedules. 

For that vote, there is also the potential for teachers to propose changes to the block schedule and modify it before putting it to a vote again. 

McDermott says that while either schedule is possible, no matter the result of this year’s vote, it would still be possible for next year’s vote to reverse that choice. For example, even if the eight-period day was decided upon in this year’s vote, it could still be switched back to an A/B block schedule next year.

While teachers are free to make their own decisions, it is recommended that students talk to their teachers to voice any potential concerns or questions they may have regarding the schedules.

 

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