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Oklahoma School District Appeals Non Binding Arbitration Decision

Wednesday, May, 4, 2011

Substitute teachers have used non binding arbitration in an attempt to persuade the Oklahoma City School Board to pay them additional monies.  The dispute centered on the daily wage rate of $85.  When school days were lengthened so that the district could recoup attendance hours lost to snow days, substitute teachers worked a longer day than usual each time they covered for a teacher who was out sick.  The substitutes felt that a longer day merited a higher daily wage rate.


Issue Went to Non Binding Arbitration


In an attempt to resolve the dispute, the two sides went to non binding arbitration.  The Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers maintained that the 45 additional minutes per day should be compensated.  The district position was that such additional payments would total over $250,000.  According to school board member Phil Horning, the district lacks "the luxury of handing out money that we are not obligated to hand out … there was no contractual promise to pay substitute teachers more than $85 per day no matter what the length of the day was”.


The employment arbitration decision favored the position of the teachers' union: the district should compensate the substitute teachers for their additional time in the classroom.  However, since the arbitration was not binding, the district had the freedom to appeal to the school board for a final determination.  The school board voted not to comply with the decision reached in arbitration.