The Nampa School District was out of line when it asked teachers to sign a contract addendum to include furlough days.
The Idaho Press-Tribune reports 3rd District Judge Molly Huskey ruled the district can’t bypass the Nampa Education Association (NEA) and enter into contracts with individual teachers. As the Press-Tribune puts it, the union “not the teachers, is the legal negotiating agent between educators and the district.”
The district struggled with a multimillion-dollar budget shortfall all last year. Interim Superintendent Tom Michaelson asked teachers to volunteer to take up to four furlough days in the second semester. The Press-Tribune quotes spokesperson Alison Westfall saying the district is disappointed with the judge’s ruling.
“Our sole intent … was to find a way to accommodate those individual teachers who came forward wanting to volunteer for furlough days to help with the district’s financial crisis.” Westfall – Idaho Press-Tribune
The ruling has no immediate effects. The amended contracts, signed last December, have already been carried out. But the Press-Tribune quotes the chief counsel for the Idaho Education Association, Paul Stark who worked on the case for the NEA, saying the ruling validates the collective bargaining process.
“The ruling is going to ensure that deviations from the law like this will not happen again in Nampa, and hopefully not in other parts of the state.” Stark – Idaho Press-Tribune
The district does not have to pay damages but the decision does make future suits by teachers or the union possible.
The Nampa School District’s financial troubles are not over. This year many of its teachers will be taking 14 furlough days.
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