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Arbitration Finished in Butte MN School Employee Case

Monday, July, 2, 2012

Both Lisa Andrews and administration in the Webster-Garfield alternative school are probably breathing a tentative sigh of relief. The school district and teachers' union recently finished the second day of a required two-day employment arbitration period, after over two years of legal disputes over Andrews' firing.

Why Was this Employment Arbitration Even Necessary?


The school district fired Andrews two years ago, in 2010. She claims that the firing injured her and her two daughters, as she has been unable to find full-time employment since that time. The school district, on the other hand, claims that Andrews failed to fulfill her duties as secretary. But there's more was brought in this public arbitration session.


(Ms. Andrews waived her right to a private arbitration in this particular case.)

Accusations From Andrews


Each side has its own bit of mud to sling at the other. In 2009, Andrews filed multiple complains with the Montana's Office of Public Instruction. The complaints claimed that Webster-Garfield had disposed of student records illegally in the past, another complaint that they were still being disposed in the same way, and a third complaint that the district was mis-managing Title I funds.


The OPI found merit with her first claim, and her lawyer claims her firing was a retaliatory measure enacted by the school district. But what does the school have to say?

The District Responds


The school district, on the other hand, claims it fired Andrews for other reasons. The district's lawyer said that Ms. Andrews failed to properly fulfill her duties, for one thing.


For another, it claims that the former secretary took 4 months of unapproved sick leave. Andrews is arguing that she tried to complete all the necessary paperwork in a timely manner, and did not hear a negative from the district within the required time.


The two-day employment arbitration session came to an end on Wednesday, June 27. The arbitrator may take up to four months to deliver a decision.