Principals union plans to protest at North Ave. on Tuesday

Retired administrators to join rally against board's action in Abbottston case

September 11, 2012|Erica L. Green | Erica L. Green

Retired principals from Baltimore City schools are scheduled to picket outside of city school headquarters Tuesday, in protest of the city school board's recent decision to dismiss one principal and not reinstate another until 2013.

The principals and school administrators union organized the demonstration, scheduled for 4 p.m. in advance of tonight's school board meeting, after the board voted Aug. 27 to dismiss Marcy Issac, assistant principal at Abbottston Elementary for her role in alleged cheating at the school in 2009, and to reinstate Principal Angela Faltz in 2013 without any back pay.

The principals union is also listed to give public comment at the meeting.

The board vote overturned the decision by two independent hearing officers it hired to hear the cases of the two longtime administrators. The union fought city schools CEO Andres Alonso's decision to dismiss the two principals and hold them responsible for plummeting test scores at the school, which he believed resulted from testing improprieties on the Maryland School Assessments.

The hearing officers found that the school system's investigation into the Abbottston cheating was fundamentally flawed--particularly an erasure analysis conducted by the state on which the system built its case--and recommended that the two administrators be reinstated with back pay.

The decision came on the heels of the union alleging that Alonso was demoting at least 15 principals for arbitrary and vindictive reasons, including those who were suspected of cheating but whose school investigations turned up no evidence.

In a Sept. 5 memo from Jimmy Gittings to the past and current administrators, he said the purpose of Tuesday's demonstration was "to show our disappointment in the Board of School Commissioners’ decision not to accept the recommendations of the two hearing officers," and "to make Dr. Alonso aware that the demotion of principals with satisfactory ratings is unacceptable."

However, the union discouraged current principals from attending the demonstration, "due to the retaliatory actions that have been so frequently used against our colleagues who speak out."

In a recent story, retired principals told The Sun they were organizing with the union in the wake of the board's decisions in the Abbottston case.

The union is also in the process of filing a grievance against Alonso, Gittings said in another memo to his membership, because the schools chief allegedly attempted to intercept and stop the union's mail in recent weeks after a series of tense letters were sent out to principals.

Per the union's contract, its leadership is allowed to distribute communication through inter-office mail, Gittings said.

"The CEO’s attempted censorship of PSASA’s communications disregards the commitments made to PSASA under the MOU and is completely unacceptable," the union leader wrote.

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