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.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

AMAZING--Florida PERC Sides With Escambia County School Board--Dismissing ULP Filed By Union Over Teachers Teaching 6 of 7 Periods Daily

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?


Anonymous said...

No legal fees will be collected, this decision will likely be appealed.

Jeff Bergosh said...

I have asked the question of two attorneys about how we collect our substantial legal fees from our defense of this ULP for nearly a year, now that we have prevailed. The first attorney's response was that it would not happen, if not implicitly specified in the final order. "you might as well go into a casino and ask for free chips at the blackjack table---not going to happen" was the analogy given. Still awaiting one other opinion. Why should we not be able to collect our fees, the union would have collected theirs if they would have prevailed? I'm not a lawyer but it seems to be a double standard and the taxpayers lose.

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Anonymous said...

I'm a high schooler. I don't think we should have 5-7 periods a day. You must have heard many things over and over again, the results are still the same. Homework is an issue, electives will be cut back drastically and is the most greatly affected by this, lunch shorten...don't anyone care about the high schooler opinion and be the one to decide what we want because like it or not you going to old age and we are the next generation to inherit this world whether you like it or not.

As corrupted this government is there is no way your going to save over $3 million by doing this, in fact you and/or the other greedy people out there will take the money plus more for yourselves. We wouldn't be in this money crisis saving mode if you guys stop taking money! To get more money you supposedly are saving money but it goes straight into your pockets.