The Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) recently secured the retraction of several excessing notices at DCPS schools, including the high-performing Benjamin Banneker Academic High School. These victories demonstrate that teachers’ rights can still be enforced in a system where the rights of laborers and unions are being challenged more each day. The key to this type of success is knowledge of the WTU/DCPS Collective Bargaining Agreement, coupled with an understanding of contract interpretation and legal remedies. This is exactly the expertise that WTU offers through its team of Field Services Specialists.
The Field Services department has developed new strategies based on knowledge and interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement to ensure that teachers are able to enforce all of the rights to which they are entitled. Perhaps the most successful approach has been building stronger relationships and working directly with DCPS officials in the Labor Management and Employee Relations and Human Resources Departments to resolve issues, which has led to successful excess recantations for several WTU members in the past few weeks. WTU’s Field Services department works collaboratively to develop a strategic approach to each case. Among the five members of our team, there is collectively over 60 years of union experience, as well as experience in the legal departments of two different major school districts and plaintiff’s side of labor and employment law.
We are proud of this experience and talent that has been brought on to continuously fight for the rights of our members. A member may call their Field Services Specialist seeking a grievance, a meeting with their Instructional Superintendent, or a public media campaign about the issue, and can be sure that the Field Representative will recommend the best courses of action based on the contract, past practice, memorandum of agreement or District law. Back with this knowledge and with the members’ best interests in mind, WTU and our all-star field services staff will continue to efficiently and effectively work towards many more victories.
Once a teacher receives notice of their excess, they need to gather the following:
- A copy of their excess letter
- Name of school they have been excessed from
- Their position on the date excessed (can be found on their pay stub)
- Proof of a change in position, if any (change of position should have occurred that school year)
- Copy of most recent IMPACT final rating (look for Effective or Highly Effective rating)
- Proof of all attempts to interview for secure placement (attendance at job fairs, emails confirming interviews, etc)
Effective or Highly Effective teachers who are excessed have 60 days after the effective date of the excess to try to secure permanent placement within DCPS. If they are unable to secure permanent placement within 60 days, they have 5 days after that to exercise one of the following three options:
Option 1- Buyout
Permanent teachers will receive a $25,000 buyout but will not be eligible for re-employment with DCPS for three years
Option 2- Early Retirement
Permanent teachers who have at least 20 years of creditable years of service with DCPS can apply for this option and receive full retirement
This option is subject to the WTU-DCPS application process and necessary government and budgetary approvals (Due to funding issues, only a small number of teachers will receive Option 2).
Deadline for Option Two is Friday June 29, 2012. Forms are available here.
Option 3- Extra Year
Permanent teachers will be allowed to work in DCPS for an extra year in order to try to find a permanent position for the following school year
This option is subject to the following before exercising this option:
- The teacher must make a good faith attempt to interview at a minimum of five schools or
- Make a good faith effort to interview for all vacancies that teacher is qualified for if the number of schools is less than five