Thursday, July 25, 2013

A school board’s “essential responsibilities” can’t be negotiated away

A school board’s “essential responsibilities” can’t be negotiated away
Sweet Home Central School District v. Sweet Home Education Association, 90 AD2d 683, affd, 58 NY2d 912 

The collective bargaining agreement [CBA] between the Sweet Home Central School District [District] and the Union permitted the District to "transfer" teachers subject to the teacher involved being advised of the reason(s) for the transfer and being given an opportunity to select from among  “current openings” for which the teacher was qualified. The contract also provided that wishes of the teacher were to be taken into consideration to the extent possible.

A music teacher grieved his “involuntary transfer out” as concert band director. The arbitrator directed the District to review the appropriate positions available with him and to permit him to select from among them. He further directed the District to permit the teacher to return to the concert band director position if he wished and the District was to “develop a program, with outside assistance, ‘to assure a smooth functioning’ of the concert band” were he to choose to return.

On appeal the arbitrator’s award was modified by the Appellate Division. The court explained that §1711 of the Education Law gave the Board a non-delegable responsibility to maintain adequate standards in the classroom and the District’s authority to assign and reassign teachers was essential to that responsibility.

“Public policy prevents a school district from bargaining away this responsibility,” said the court. In keeping with this view, the arbitrator was held not to have the power to direct the District to retain the teacher in the position from which he had been reassigned.

The Court then held that the CBA between the District and the Union could (and did) establish procedural rules regulating the District’s right to reassign teachers. That portion of the arbitrator’s award directing the District to comply with the procedural rules to which it had agreed was upheld.


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Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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