March 25, 2010

Teachers sue district; contracts put on hold

Teachers sue district; contracts put on hold
By JILL DENNING GACKLE

Duane Hummel received a surprise visit from the McLean County Sheriff’s Department Monday. The deputy was bearing gifts. The gift was legal papers, compliments of the Garrison Education Association. The GEA has filed a lawsuit against the school district, of which Hummel is the board president.
The action was another volley in the battle in Garrison over teacher contracts, which has now entered the court system.
The civil lawsuit, which is set for a hearing May 12, charges the district with breach of contract, lack of good faith and failure to negotiate. The suit also suspends the issuing of individual contracts.
School board members voted Feb. 26 to issue contracts; teachers had 30 days to sign and return, but according to Business Manager Virginia Beggs, as of Monday none have been returned.
Negotiations began in May 2009, and although salary was the sticking point at the start, the debate came down to when contracts could be issued.
Since the early 1980s, contracts have been issued after both parties formally agreed to the conditions outlined in the new contracts. State law doesn’t require the final go-ahead from teachers prior to the release of contracts.
 


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