As the second legislative session has not concluded and the potential of a third session looms ahead, many of our school districts are hedging their bets and playing it safe by reducing staff.

 

It is not unusual for districts to balance their budgets on the backs of their employees and yet this year is different. As state funding is extremely unknown over 100 WEA Eastern certificated staff have received notices of nonrenewal.

Our office is here to help you and your local education association during this difficult time. All non-provisional teachers are entitled to a statutory hearing under RCW.405.210 before they can lose their employment while provisional teachers have rights to a hearing before the superintendent under RCW.405.220. Nonprovisional and provisional employees must request such appeals 10 calendar days from receipt of the notification of nonrenewal. If the appeal letter is not received within the time allotted time period the employee has forfeited their right of appeal.

On the upside your local contract may provide for even greater protections beyond the state law so please review it carefully. It is possible that grievances can be filed in some cases of nonrenewal.

Classified employees do not receive the same statutory protections but often have extremely strong due process rights by virtue of their locally negotiated contracts.

WEA has produced a RIF Assistance Guide for School Employees which covers knowing your rights, continued benefits, unemployment compensation and retirement. If you need a copy of this guide, please contact our office.

Many of the districts that will be seeking to cut teaching and classified employees have done little or nothing to cut other programs, services or the bureaucracy in their own school districts. Many have seen large increases in salary and benefits for district administration while they were trying to cut those employees who have the greatest impact on students -- teachers and ESPs.

As usual, we are in for a battle, but it is a battle we are there to fight with you. We expect to see almost all of you back next year. Please call our office if/when you have any questions about the process or your rights under your contract/state law. We'll get through this together!