Greater Lowell Regional Teachers Organization And Greater Lowell Technical School Committee

Arbitrator rules that a teacher without professional teacher status is entitled to procedural protections under the collective bargaining agreement before a School Committee can non-renew the teacher’s appointment.

In this case, the teacher was notified of the intention to non-renew her appointment on May 26, 2009 and then dismissed on June 7, 2009. The arbitrator found that the teacher was denied reappointment as a consequence of the evaluation process and that the procedures followed in that evaluation process violated the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement. The collective bargaining agreement required that the information that formed the basis for the recommendation to non-renew a teacher must be properly documented before the notice of intent to non-renew. The arbitrator also specifically relied on DESE regulations which provide that a teacher must be given “a reasonable amount of time… to implement the recommendations for improvement of performance and to meet performance standards.” In this case the arbitrator found that the teacher’s supervisor failed to give the teacher anything in writing to establish any deadlines. The arbitrator noted that “Experience demonstrates that parties to a conversation often draw different impressions about the substance and tenor of the discussion. And, consequently, it is generally a good practice to follow-up important conversations with confirmatory letters or memoranda.”

Therefore, the School Department’s failure to document the teacher’s claimed deficiencies and give the teacher proper written notice of those alleged deficiencies along with an opportunity to correct the issues violated the collective bargaining agreement.

The teacher was therefore ordered to be reinstated with full back pay and benefits.

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