Grievance escalates, but leaders say resolution is nearly at handRed Wing School District and teachers union officials said a block-scheduling related grievance will likely be solved one step before arbitration, despite an escalation in the process.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing School District and teachers union officials said a block-scheduling related grievance will likely be solved one step before arbitration, despite an escalation in the process.
District officials announced Thursday that School Board members will meet Monday to discuss the grievance. The issue will next be heard by a three-member School Board panel, which will either reach a resolution with the union or hand the matter over to an arbitrator.
But Education Minnesota President Kirby Hanson said resolution is, by far, the likely outcome.
"We've had very productive meetings," he said. "We're making progress."
The process calls for grievances to first be heard by the building administrator, and then the superintendent. According to both sides, talks between the union and Supt. Stan Slessor were productive, but have required timeline extensions.
"But you can't do that forever," Slessor said.
Neither side expressed hopes or saw likelihood in the possibility of the issue heading to an arbitrator. Under that scenario, an independent arbitrator rules for one side or the other.
"Given what I've seen so far, I remain confident both groups want to work it out locally," Slessor said.
"We'd like to see it solved in-house," he said.
Union leaders filed the grievance in February amid concerns that block scheduling next year at Red Wing High School could impact teachers' so-called "overload" pay, issued when they take on heavier course loads.
Hanson said the issue now is establishing the duties of a full-time high school teacher, and how that will be defined under a block schedule system. Negotiators also are working to develop a contingency plan if block scheduling is eliminated, Hanson said.
Monday's meeting will begin at 7 a.m. as an open meeting - a virtual technicality, Slessor said - before immediately adjourning into closed session to discuss the grievance. The Minnesota Open Meeting Law allows meetings to be closed when discussing union negotiations.
School Board members Heidi Jones, Stephen O'Keefe and Mike Christensen will head the grievance review panel.