January 8, 2010
There has been a lot of information being circulated about a competitive grant called Race to the Top (RT3). States are being given the opportunity to apply for grant money that will flow through the state to local school districts. In order to get any of the money local districts must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) binding them to do certain things. Many of the items required by the grant are wages, hours and working conditions which are mandatory subjects of bargaining. MEA and local unions around the state are being asked to participate in signing the MOU which binds them to participate in the bargaining of the changes prescribed in the MOU.
Each state developed its own MOU. In FL, unlike most other states or the actual Federal requirements, the MOU is more prescriptive about what must be changed. In spite of flexibility in the Federal requirements, FL has taken an all or nothing approach to the MOU.
The attached letter is from FEA President Andy Ford. It goes into much more detail about RT3, and FEA's reasons for opposing FL's approach but not the original spirit of RT3. MEA is joining with FEA and other local affiliates in not signing the MOU.
Please take the time to read the attachment and feel free to contact MEA if you have any questions.