OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego City School District’s attempt to add more instructional time, at the secondary level, has been stymied again.
In the matter of the arbitration between Brian Haessig, president of Oswego Classroom Teachers Association, and the school district, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Fourth Department rendered its decision Dec. 30, 2011.
It appears as if the two sides are headed back to the bargaining table.
At the secondary level, middle and high school “the district unilaterally changed the terms of OCTA members’ employment” by making them go from five teaching periods out of nine periods (“like we’ve had for 30 years,”) to six periods, according to the union president.
The court’s decision states: The Association filed a grievance when (district) assigned an additional instructional class to teachers for the 2010-2011 school year and it subsequently demanded arbitration.
(The district) sought a stay of arbitration on the ground that the grievance was not arbitrable.
In the alternative, (the district) sought a determination that any arbitration would be advisory in nature. Contrary to (the district’s) contention, Supreme Court properly granted the petition and denied the cross motion.
The Association alleged that (district’s) assignment of an additional instructional class violated Article VIII, sections A and D of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which govern teaching load and class sizes.
“We said it needed to be negotiated. They implemented it, and we grieved. We were ready to go to arbitration and they sought a stay. We blocked it. We won. They went back and tried again. We won again,” Haessig told Oswego County Today.
This decision says they have to go back to arbitration, he added.
The union president will contact the Education Center and try to schedule a date after the holiday.
“It’s not that we don’t want to teach more; we’re just asking them to negotiate in good faith,” he said. “The board has been digging its heels in and we have had to go to arbitration or close to it on certain things.”
“Although there was a level of optimism anticipating the decision of the Court of Appeals, I was more of a realist to think that the determination would be moving the parties to an arbitration. I am most confident in the parties being able to resolve matters prior to an arbitration hearing. Staying focused on the interest to keep teachers in the classroom while respecting the language of the contract may result in an island of commonality between the parties,” Superintendent Bill Crist said.