Programming Issues

Relief if you’re assigned a subject or grade level not chosen on your preference sheet

Programming of subjects and grade levels for the school year is governed by Article 40 of our contract.

Article 40 includes language on the following provisions:

Opportunities for Success with Article 40 Violations

  1. It is possible to get the Board to agree to honor the teaching preference at the beginning of the following semester or school year.
  2. Articles 40-2 and 40-3 have concrete deadlines that shall be followed in regards to the distribution of preference sheets and the tentative teaching program.
  3. Provisions in Articles 40-4, 40-5, and 40-6 includes language that provides the Union an opportunity to show how it administratively possible to honor the contractual provision. For example, in a grievance regarding consecutive teaching assignments, the Union can request a master schedule and determine how the principal could make changes to comply with contract.
  4. Article 40-8 provides an opportunity for the teacher to request that the principal provides a pedagogical justification for the program change, along with a relevant professional development plan. This documentation could be used in both the appeal and arbitration.

Strategies and Tips for Addressing Article 40 Violations

  1. When a complaint is first brought to your attention, immediately request a copy of all bargaining unit members’ preference sheets and the most recent school organizational chart.
  2. If possible, try to schedule a grievance meeting over the summer for Article 40-1 violations.
  3. Make every effort to resolve the grievance at the local school level due to the amount of time that it to go through the grievance chain. Some principals may be willing to compromise to avoid the inconvenience of an appeal hearing or arbitration.
  4. Try to identify recognizable harm. For example, a teacher going through National Board Certification may be harmed if a specific subject or grade level is not honored.
  5. Try to determine if the change to the teacher’s program or room assignment was done arbitrarily or in retaliation for protected activity.
  6. Identify who has been assigned to teacher’s preferred subject or grade level? Does that person have the necessary credentials or experience to be in that position? Is the person a new hire?
  7. Don’t be discouraged from pursuing arbitration for Article 40 violations.

Challenges to Winning Article 40 Grievances

  1. Sometimes, the principal makes an argument about why they didn’t honor a teacher’s preference that an arbitrator finds compelling. For example, “change was based on the needs of the school”, “I’m doing what is best for the students”, “test scores were low”, etc.
  2. Oftentimes there is no immediate relief for the grievant if the matter can’t be resolved at the local school level. By the time the case goes through the grievance process, the teacher has taught in undesired position for the majority of the school year.
  3. Principals may refuse to schedule a grievance conference over the summer because the teaching schedule is tentative.
  4. Members are oftentimes discouraged from pursuing a grievance regarding Artice 40 violations.

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