Detroit’s main school district and its largest teachers union settled a contract disagreement Tuesday afternoon after tensions arose over the seemingly routine approval of this year’s academic calendar.
The proposed calendar includes some changes to the one spelled out in the teachers’ contract. It was approved last week by a school board subcommittee without comment from the union, and the same calendar was on the agenda for tonight’s meeting of the full school board.
With just three weeks until the first day of school, parents and teachers are relying on the calendar to make travel plans and childcare arrangements.
No details were available about the agreement.
Ken Coleman, a spokesman for the Detroit Federation of Teachers, said the agreement was resolved before the meeting started, but couldn’t provide further details. District spokeswoman Chrystal Wilson said she expected the calendar to go to a vote without opposition from the union.
Coleman said earlier on Tuesday that a vote to approve the calendar could violate the teachers’ contract.
Union leaders were surprised last week when Chalkbeat reported that the board was considering a calendar that was different from the one approved in their contract.
The proposed calendar would eliminate one-hour-early releases on Wednesday and move the teacher training that occurred during that time mostly to the beginning of the school year. It also would move spring break to April 1-5, 2019 — a few weeks earlier than the April 19-26 break specified in the contract.
The earlier spring break is designed to avoid the testing window for the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, a college entrance exam commonly known as the PSAT, according to school board documents.
Union officials have said that they had no major objections to the contents of the calendar, only to the way in which it was approved.
Correction: Aug. 14, 2018 This story has been corrected to show that the union and district have reached an agreement about the academic calendar. A previous version of the story, under the headline “An 11th-hour disagreement over an academic calendar could be settled at tonight’s school board meeting,” referenced a pending agreement when an agreement had in fact been reached.