School board denies union grievance on RIF

Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 09:03 AM.

A debate engaged in Florida for more than two years which had an airing in Gulf County this summer has been put to rest, at least locally.

The Gulf County School Board on Tuesday denied a formal grievance brought by the Gulf Education Association, the union representing teachers, concerning the process used in this summer’s Reduction in Force.

In one sense, the arguments echoed a larger discussion in the state since the 2011 legislative passage of a sweeping education bill.

Among a host of other provisions, that bill include a prohibition for local districts undertaking a Reduction in Force from using seniority in any way in the process of identifying teachers to be laid off.

That provision was at the heart of the GEA grievance that statute was in conflict with the teacher’s master contract and the contract, not the statute should control until the expiration of the contract in 2014.

The union also argued that its grievance should carry because the district failed to respond in a timely fashion.

The union sought to force the district to use the master contract, which mandates that the least senior teachers be the first let go, in the RIF process.

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