Collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between local school board and teacher’s union for teachers and other staff of a cluster of schools in the Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership (SEZP). The CBA is an example of a contract with a teachers union that enables a restart provider to operate with flexibilities previously available only to charter schools, including establishing working conditions to be set at the school-level, mutual consent hiring, and differentiated roles and compensation.
Outcomes and Lessons Learned: The goal was a contract that is flexible enough for autonomous schools and charter-style operators. The credible threat of state takeover and the precedent of a similar contract in Massachusetts helped to ensure productive conversations with the local union, but the union was very receptive because the contract also provides fair compensation, protection, and increased teacher voice. Involving the union in process allowed for almost universal buy-in. Teachers voted by a 92%-8% margin for the very different CBA.