School Committee, teachers reach agreement

After negotiating for more than a year, the Lowell School Committee and the United Teachers of Lowell teachers’ union have reached a new collective bargaining agreement. According to union president Paul Georges, a recent meeting to go over details of the new contracted focused primarily on the new educator evaluation tool, which is mandated by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for any districts receiving federal funds under the Race to the Top program. The evaluations must be negotiated by unions and school departments, and must be rolled out this year. Georges said the focus of the new system will be its use as a growth tool rather than a punitive one.