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Dist. U-46 vote supports union-filed grievance

By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 sided with an employee union regarding a grievance submitted by the District U-46 Transportation Union (DUTU) at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 12.
  The vote, which came with no discussion, was 5-1 with board member Donna Smith voting no. Board member Melissa Owens was absent.
  There was little transparency as the only public information on the agenda was listing the item as DUTU Grievance #13-05-19 Step III with Board Policy 5.290 being referenced.
  Board member Veronica Noland made the motion “to uphold the grievance, and grant DUTU it’s requested relief.”
  The Examiner asked the district what the nature of the grievance was and if there was any financial impact based on the board’s vote, but the district did not respond to the inquiry. Smith was also asked for her reasoning behind voting no, but she also did not respond.
  The grievance likely stemmed from a staff firing or suspension as the cited board policy, 5.290, pertains to suspension and dismissal of support staff members.
  That policy states that staff “may be suspended for up to 30 days and discharged” and also gives the superintendent or CEO authorization to “immediately relieve from duties with or without pay any employee for incompetence, cruelty, negligence, immorality, illegality, insubordination, or other sufficient cause.”
  Transportation staff is specified in the policy as it states: “Any school bus driver who abandons his/her school bus while it contains a child who is without other adult supervision will be dismissed immediately. A bus driver will be excused in case of an emergency as determined by the District.”
  DUTU’s contract defines a grievance as a “claim by an employee or the Union that there has been a violation, misinterpretation, or misapplication of any provision of this Agreement.”
  Prior to coming before the board, a grievance must first be heard by an employee’s immediate supervisor and then the superintendent under the contract.
  Smith’s vote was the first no vote by the new board since being seated on April 30. Including consent agenda items, there had been 139 straight items approved by the current board without a dissenting vote.




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