RIDE Commissioner Gist on Central Falls Teacher Agreement

Statement from Education Commissioner Gist on Central Falls Agreement:

I am really pleased that the Central Falls School Department, under Dr. Frances Gallo's leadership, and the Central Falls Teachers Union have come to a tentative agreement about a plan to transform Central Falls High School, and that they will do that work together. The ideal situation is when we can do this important work collaboratively, and that's why this agreement is so promising.

Since March, the school department and the teachers' union have been engaged in negotiations about how to improve the high school. The Department of Education has been at the table at these negotiations and has provided for both a federal mediator and a facilitator, Judge Ernest C. Torres, to guide the discussions.

I am most grateful to Judge Torres for his help in this matter. Today, all sides have tentatively agreed on a proposal that will bring about the necessary changes to accelerate Central Falls High School toward greatness.

From the outset, I have said that my one commitment is to ensure that we provide the best possible education for the students of Central Falls High School. The tentative agreement reached today is evidence that all parties can put aside their differences and work in the best interest of our students. Now it's time to move forward and work together to make Central Falls High School one of the best schools in Rhode Island. I look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Gallo and the Central Falls Teachers Union as we put their transformation plan into action.

The Central Falls Teachers' Union will meet tomorrow (Monday, May 17, 2010) to vote on this agreement, and we're very hopeful that they will vote positively.

– Deborah A. Gist, R.I. Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education