By Flo Jonic
Central Falls, R.I. – Central Falls teachers may be able to keep their jobs after all. Over the weekend, the leadership of their union reached a tentative agreement with the Central Falls school district. If ratified, the termination notices sent out to all Central Falls High School teachers in February will be rescinded.
The agreement calls on Central Falls teachers to work longer hours and do more after school tutoring. They will also be subject to a new evaluation system and expected to undergo more professional development.
High school guidance counselor George McLaughlin, whose wife is employed as a high school chemistry teacher, says he's thrilled by the prospect they won't both be filing for unemployment soon.
"It's like there's all these little glimmers of hope and now there's a big glimmer so to speak, I suppose," McLaughlin says. "So we're hoping that will grow as we find out all the details."
State education commissioner Deborah Gist said the plan paves the way for major gains in student achievement.
"This is the foundation for an aggressive plan to turn the high school around," Gist said. "And we're confident that with the conditions set out in this agreement we'll be able to do what is needed."
Teachers will vote on the pact at 1:45 today. The results will be revealed at a 3:30 news conference.