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Faculty Association Wins Arbitration Decision

Saturday, May, 7, 2016

The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District faculty association came out winners in its arbitration with the school district. An independent arbitrator ruled the district violated the contract it has entered into with the teachers by charging employees for leave.


According to Mark Goodman, president of the faculty association, “This arbitration is huge, and since we did win this grievance, now the district has to re-calibrate 18 months of mischarging teachers for leave – that’s over 385 faculty association members whose mistakes they have to rectify and reimburse.”


The dispute began because teachers were charged for sick, personal necessity and association leave. The district changed its method of charging for such leave, but had not bargained with or notified the association of the change.


Goodman also explained the district board initially ignored the grievance until it went to mediation. He reported teachers were being charged for leave even if they were leaving for school-related business, personal necessity and lesson preparation time.


In October 2014, the association filed a grievance, which ended in the arbitrator hearing. The district was ordered to “cease and desist” from its approach and no longer charge leave for teachers not working. The district must also restore more than 18 months of charged leaves, which the association called improper. The district stated in response to the arbitration decision that it is now in a very difficult position.


According to assistant superintendent Tracey Marsh, “Charging teachers for one hour and 27 minutes instead of one hour for a missed teaching period does now make sense to us…”