Providence reaches deal with teachers union

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Less than two weeks after a group of Providence teachers skipped a school kickoff event to protest the status of their union’s contract negotiations with the city, a new agreement has been reached.

A Taveras administration official confirmed Friday that the city and its teachers union have agreed to a tentative three-year deal that would remove the existing no-layoff clause from the contract, maintain criterion-based hiring and provide more autonomy for individual schools. The full terms of the contract are expected to be released late Friday.

The union’s previous contract expired Aug. 31. The new deal will still require City Council approval before it becomes official.

The new deal comes just days before Mayor Angel Taveras will compete in the Democratic gubernatorial primary against state Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Clay Pell. Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals, which includes the Providence Teachers Union, has endorsed Pell for governor.

The union’s last contract agreement was reached in the 2011, months after the Taveras administration issued pink slips to all of Providence’s nearly 2,000 teachers – a move city officials blamed on a controversial state law that required municipalities to alert educators of potential dismissals by March 1. The General Assembly changed that law this year.

Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Twitter: @danmcgowan

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