MTI and the District have been in dispute regarding the interpretation of Section III-R of the Collective Bargaining Agreement regarding Class Covering Pay since 2007 when MTI filed a grievance on behalf of the staff at Sennett Middle School. The grievance was over class covering pay when a substitute teacher is unavailable and students were assigned to other staff.
Resolution was achieved through a grievance mediation process which MTI and the District entered into last school year in an attempt to deal with a backlog of grievances. The process, which was recommended by Mediator/Arbitrator Howard Bellman during negotiations three years ago, is part of a project begun by Northwestern University Law School.
The mediated agreement resulted in clarity to the language that ensures teachers and other teacher bargaining unit members are compensated for covering another teacher’s class while leaving some flexibility for unforeseen emergencies and rare occurrences.
Section III-R states that when the District is unable to assign a substitute teacher to cover for an absent teacher, the building principal must first solicit volunteers from those teachers available to cover the class in question. If no teacher volunteers, the principal may assign a teacher to cover another teacher’s class.
The District had maintained that to be compensated for this work the covering teacher had to lose prep or planning time. MTI disputed that interpretation. In addition, the District contended that classes could be split up and assigned to multiple classrooms without receiving class covering pay.
The following constitutes the resolution of this matter as to when class covering pay is owed to teachers: