Griffith teachers' grievance results in loss of bonus money

2013-08-08T22:15:00Z 2013-08-08T22:36:20Z Griffith teachers' grievance results in loss of bonus moneyCHARLES F. HABER Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
August 08, 2013 10:15 pm  • 

GRIFFITH | A grievance filed by the Griffith Federation of Teachers has resulted in a loss of teacher bonus money from a state grant, the School Board said Thursday.

There was no discussion among the board members, aside from a prepared statement read by Griffith Public Schools Superintendent Peter Morikis.

A previous teacher contract expired June 30 and was replaced by a new one through June 30, 2015.

"As you know, a grievance was filed by GFT regarding the dispute between the two collective bargaining agreements," Morikis said. "GFT argued that the 2015 contract was in effect and that no contract negotiations were required until 2015."

The board's negotiation team accepted the union's position, meaning that the new contract remains in effect and the grievance is concluded, Morikis said.

"There is a consequence to maintaining the 2015 contract that needs to be explained," Morikis said.

He said the board applied last year for a state Excellence in Performance Grant, which would have meant an award of $150,000 to be distributed this fall to teachers based on their performance evaluations over the last school year.

However, the grant requires that the collective bargaining agreement permits teachers to be paid based on their evaluations.

But the new contract, which was negotiated under the old statute, has no such provision, Morikis said.

When the School Board applied for the grant, it expected that this provision would have been part of negotiations as the old contract expired, Morikis said.

"However, in light of GFT's insistence that the 2015 contract remain in effect, a new salary model that meets the requirements of both the statue and the grant will not be negotiated until 2015," Morikis said.

As a result, the board was forced to return the $150,000 to the state and cancel the performance payments, Morikis said.

Morikis added that the union was advised numerous times that this would happen if the new contract remained in effect.

Morikis said the board regrets the missing payments, "but trust that GFT had their best interests in mind in insisting that the 2015 contract remain in effect."

In other business, the board transferred a parcel of its land, at 319 W. Columbia, to the Park Department to create a new park that will be called Panther Park.

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