Wallingford teachers reject compromise on last day of school

Wallingford teachers reject compromise on last day of school


WALLINGFORD — After rejecting a compromise offered by school administrators, representatives of the local teachers union are expected to appear before the Board of Education later this month for a hearing on whether June 30 will be the last day of school for teachers.

Earlier this year, the Board of Education voted to reduce the 2013-14 school year calendar by four days — making the last day for students June 24. The reduction was recommended by School Superintendent Salvatore Menzo and the administration after some parents complained about students going to school until June 30.

When the board voted to shorten the school calendar for students and not teachers, the Wallingford Education Association approached Menzo on what they believed was a conflict with language in the union’s contract.

The contract states: “The scheduled work year of teachers covered by the Classroom Teacher’s Salary Schedule ... shall begin no earlier than Monday of the week prior to Labor Day and terminate one day after the close of school in June, but shall in no event be more than one-hundred-eighty-nine (189) days of work.”

On Thursday, Menzo declined to comment on specifics, saying he was “uncomfortable commenting because we’re in the middle of the formal grievance process.”

Menzo denied a grievance filed by the union because the administration believes teachers should be working until June 30.

“The grievance was denied because I believe there is past precedent,” Menzo said. “I believe there was a clear understanding of expectations and now it will go to the (Board of Education) for determination.”

Board of Education Chairwoman Roxane McKay could not be reached for comment Thursday. The union is expected to hear from the teachers union on June 17.

For the current school year, teachers are scheduled to work 189 days — with their last day being June 30. With the board’s action to change the last day of school to June 24, teachers are scheduled to work four days past the last day of school.

Wallingford Education Association President Louis Faiella met with Menzo about the conflict and was told the four days would be spent as professional development days. Faiella was also told teachers would not be paid if they do not show up.

The union could file a grievance and go through arbitration to get paid, but it was advised by the Connecticut Education Association it could be a two-year process with no guarantee of winning.

Union representatives met again with Menzo and attorneys to try to resolve the conflict. A compromise would have the teachers working 1½ days past June 25 and taking off the remaining 1½ days — with the last day for teachers being June 27.

The compromise also includes reducing the number of teacher work days for next school year from 189 to 185; removing four two-hour after-school professional development days and converting them into four in-school professional development days after early dismissal for students; and adding 12 minutes to the work day.

Under the conditions of the compromise, the last day for teachers next year would be June 8 — if there aren’t any snow days.

The compromise was ultimately rejected by the union, whose members voted against it on May 29. During a special Board of Education meeting Monday night, the board went into executive session to conduct a review “concerning confidential document from collective bargaining discussions with (the Wallingford Education Association).”

evo@record-journal.com (203) 317-2235 Twitter: @EricVoRJ

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