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Teachers' aides cuts lead to grievance

May 30, 2000|By TARA REILLY

The Maryland State Teachers Association plans to file a grievance with the Washington County Board of Education claiming the board violated a contract by notifying 27 part-time teacher aides with seniority status that their jobs might be eliminated.

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MSTA is filing the grievance with the board's Human Resources office on behalf of Education Support Personnel Local 1, which includes teacher's aides.

The grievance could be filed as early as today, Robert Kulp, UniServe Director for the MSTA said.

Kulp claims the contract between the association and the board was violated because the board intends to cut aides with up to 11 years seniority while probationary aides have not been notified of any cuts. Probationary aides are temporary employees.

"The temporary aides have been here less than a year," Kulp said. "They're being included on the seniority list when they have no seniority. It's just not fair."

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Kulp said all the part-time aides should have been notified that positions could be cut, with the probationary aides the first to go.

"Layoffs are always upsetting," he said. "It's not an unpainful thing to go through. Some people are going to be out of a job. But seniority should give you some benefits. Right now we're not seeing that."

Bill Montross, the School Board's supervisor of human resources and labor relations, said he couldn't comment on the grievance because he hasn't yet received it. He said the 27 aides were notified because they are classified as part-time Title I employees, positions the board decided to cut because of budget constraints.

Title I is a federally funded program that school systems use to supplement programs for at-risk students. Aide positions are funded by the county's $2.1 million share of federal Title I funds.

Montross said that while 27 people were told cuts were coming it's no guarantee all will be let go.

"Not all 27 are going to be cut," Montross said. "Positions will be cut, but not all people may lose their jobs."

He said some aides could be given other positions if their jobs are eliminated.

He said more than 20 but fewer than 27 positions probably would be cut.

School Board President Paul W. Bailey said he couldn't comment on the grievance because the board hasn't been formally notified.

"I don't know the gist or how to respond until there is formal notification," Bailey said.

The board will have five days to hold a hearing on the grievance and three days to form a response, Kulp said. If the two sides haven't come to terms after that, the grievance will move to Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett Jr.

If it's still not resolved, MSTA could eventually bring in an arbitrator from the American Arbitration Association for binding arbitration.

"If there had been proper notification, we could've avoided all this," Kulp said.

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