Union grievance deniedRed Wing School Board members will be asked Monday to deny a teachers union grievance over block-scheduling issues set to take effect next school year.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing School Board members will be asked Monday to deny a teachers union grievance over block-scheduling issues set to take effect next school year.
"We're still on opposite sides," Supt. Stan Slessor said Thursday.
While the decision is expected to end the formal process - at least at the local level - Slessor said hope remains that the matter can be resolved informally between the district and Education Minnesota Red Wing.
He said that could come through a memorandum of understanding between the two parties.
"The door is still open to come to some understanding as to how the block scheduling will work," Slessor said.
Teachers union members must now decide how they would like to proceed.
Kirby Hanson, president of Education Minnesota Red Wing, said the union still would like to solve the issue locally. He said the memorandum of understanding spells out definitions of a full-time high school teacher and what constitutes a school day.
Hanson said the teachers had hoped to include the memorandum in the next negotiated contract, but that Red Wing School Board members refused the request.
"We were really surprised at that," he said.
Slessor said it is "more likely than not" that a memorandum of understanding will be signed.
Hanson shared that optimism.
"We understand why the School Board denied the grievance, but I'm also happy that they are still open to working on this MOU," he said.
If union officials wish, the process could also move on to an arbitrator, who would rule for one side - an option both sides say they'd like to avoid. Union negotiators will meet Tuesday to decide whether to pursue arbitration or the informal memorandum.
The process, which began two months ago, completed its final step when a three-person Red Wing School Board panel denied the grievance. The grievance made two other unsuccessful procedural stops at Slessor's and Red Wing High School Principal Beth Borgen's desks.
The union sought assurance on how work would be meted out under a block schedule. 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.
Slessor said the district wants to ensure that a ruling on the grievance won't take away any "inherent managerial right" to make decisions on school schedules - so long as they don't violate teachers union contracts.
School Board members also will hear a recommendation to accept another grievance involving a teacher-transfer issue.