The Florida Public Employees Relations Commission issued a Final Order today, reversing a previously filed hearing officer's recommended order from December of last year. At issue, the decision made last year to have High School Teachers teach 6 of 7 periods versus 5 of 7 periods as a means of saving taxpayers $3.2 Million Dollars. The union asserted that the School Board violated Section 447.501(1)(a) and (c) by changing the work schedules of High School Teachers. Hearing officer John G. Showalter, who wrote the December 5, 2008 recommended order, agreed with this position of the Union. Mr. Showalter's recommended order was reversed today, and I am certain that a lot of districts around the state will take notice of today's Final Order from PERC.
For background on the original issue, see the following:
Fast forward to today, and the Final Order from PERC vindicates the School Board in this matter.
From today's PERC Final Order:
"Although the hearing officer held that the School District had the mnagement right to change the total number of periods in a school day pursuant to Section 447.209, Florida Statutes, the hearing officer concluded that the Indian River [Indian River County Education Association, local 3617 v. School Board of Indian River County, (1978)] opinion establishes that the number of periods that a teacher is required to teach in a school day is a condition of employment. Consequently, the hearing officer concluded that the School District committed an unfair labor practice when it refused to negotiate over the decision to make the change in the total number of perids taught. We disagree."
"Accordingly, we disagree with the hearing officer's legal analysis and hold that the School District's decision to increase the number of class instruction periods was a management right, subject only to the right of impact negotiations before implementation"
Read the entire Final Order Here:
The union has the opportunity to appeal this final order, and it will be interesting to see how that option is handled. I intend to ask the superintendent and our School Board attorney about the possibility of collecting our legal fees from the Union, now that PERC has issued the Final Order and the School Board has prevailed---Thousands in taxpayer's dollars have been spent by the Board in defense of this ULP, and I'd like to see these funds recovered. After all, when the Union wins these ULPs, they collect their legal fees--we ought to be able to do the same thing when we win, right?
I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.