Terms of settlement agreement between teachers and GI public schools revealed

Grand Island Public Schools Friday released the terms of an agreement settling a dispute with...
Grand Island Public Schools Friday released the terms of an agreement settling a dispute with the district's teachers union.(KSNB)
Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 1:54 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Seven teachers formerly classified as substitutes are getting one-time back pay and will be considered full-time employees going forward if they continue to work for the district.

That was the substance of an agreement settling a lawsuit filed in January by the Grand Island Education Association (GIEA) against Grand Island Public Schools (GIPS.)

In January, the GIEA sued the district in the Nebraska Commission of Industrial Relations (CIR) claiming that it should be paying certain substitute teachers as full-time employees. The teachers union claimed that subs were being used to replace teachers who had retired or otherwise left the district permanently. GIEA maintained that those teachers should be treated as full-time employees.

The two parties agreed on a settlement Wednesday, and Thursday night the school board approved the terms of the deal.

The agreement lists seven teachers who are getting one-time payments of varying amounts. . A union spokesperson said those payments represented the difference between what they would have been paid as full-time contracted employees and what they were paid last year as substitutes. A district spokesperson said that a clause in the settlement also provides that if those seven teachers continue to work for the district they would be credited with one year of service and could advance on the salary schedule based on the union’s current agreement with the district.

The district spokesperson also said that a motion dismissing the CIR lawsuit is pending.

It was not immediately clear what changes, if any, the district would make regarding its policies on substitute teachers. When asked about that, a district spokesperson said they would not have a comment on that at this time.

After the Thursday night’s school board meeting, GIPS and GIEA released a joint statement that said:

After the Grand Island Public Schools (GIPS) Board of Education approved the settlement agreement at the August 11, 2022 meeting, the parties have agreed to dismiss the pending litigation and legal proceedings before the Nebraska Commission of Industrial Relations. The agreement reached by the Grand Island Education Association (GIEA) and GIPS reflects the work of meaningful conversations that took place throughout the summer.

The GIEA and GIPS recognize the tremendous value of the school district’s teaching staff as well as the challenging environment facing all schools. The agreement represents the mutual goal of the GIEA and GIPS to compensate the school district’s teaching staff members who served students in critical positions during the 2021-2022 school year. Staff members affected by the agreement will receive notice of additional compensation for the 2021-2022 school year.

The GIEA and GIPS administration have a shared commitment to strengthening communications and collaboration moving into the upcoming school year.

“We are excited to welcome students back for a new school year and to continue our focus on the District’s Mission: Every Student, Every Day, A Success!” said Michelle Carter, GIEA President and GIPS Superintendent Dr. Tawana Grover.”

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