Jaffrey-Rindge teacher’s union files labor complaint against district

  • An aerial view of Jaffrey from Conant High School. Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 3/6/2019 12:14:06 PM

The Jaffrey-Rindge Education Association has filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the Jaffrey-Rindge School District, alleging that the district made a “unilateral change” to the middle/high school schedule for the 2018-19 school year.

The JREA, along with the National Education Association and the state’s branch of the NEA, filed the complaint with the state’s Public Employee Relations Board on Feb. 13. The Jaffrey-Rindge Education Association represents the teachers throughout the district.

The complaint alleges that the school district unilaterally implemented a 20-minute advisory period at the beginning of each school day at the Jaffrey-Rindge Middle School and Conant High School, violating state law and the collective bargaining agreement between the two parties.

“The district did not negotiate with the JREA in connection with this change,” the complaint reads.

Furthermore, the JREA alleges that the middle and high school administration said there would be a process to modify the 2018-19 schedule to create a mutually agreed-upon schedule, but the association was later notified by a district attorney that changes would be applied to the 2019-20 school year instead of the 2018-19 school year.

The JREA notified the district of its objection in October 2018, the document states, and filed the complaint after learning the district would not be remedying the current school schedule.

The complaint says the JREA wants the district to revert to the 2017-18 class schedule – a six-period day with no advisory period – and that the “district be found to have improperly changed the working conditions of JREA-represented employees,” among other things.

JREA President Sheila E. Nicholas said Tuesday morning that the JREA would not provide a comment as “there is still an opportunity for resolution without litigation.”

A pre-hearing conference has been scheduled for March 28, while a hearing has been scheduled for April 16.

In an interview Tuesday evening, Superintendent Reuben Duncan said he was surprised about the JREA’s complaint, as he felt the creation of the new schedule had been a collaborative experience dating back to the beginning of last year.

“All I can say is we have been collaborative, and that we thought there was a consensus,” Duncan said. “There were plenty of opportunities to raise a concern.”

The district is currently gathering evidence and preparing a response to the complaint.

Duncan said the advisory period was implemented to provide a daily interaction between students and a teacher to talk about current events and do other things, like take attendance and do the Pledge of Allegiance. It also allowed for a connection between a teacher and students’ parents.

“It seemed to be well received,” Duncan said. “I always want to work collaboratively when possible.”

Duncan said union leadership was part of a scheduling committee that took a look at potential scheduling changes and that teachers had an opportunity to provide feedback.

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com.


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