Teaching Profession

Dismissed Teachers Fight Back

March 01, 1996 1 min read

Fourteen teachers who were fired when the Wilkinsburg, Pa., school board turned over management of an elementary school to a private company have won a round in their battle to get their jobs back.

An outside arbitrator ruled Jan. 10 that the teachers should be rehired with pay and benefits dating back to the start of the school year. District officials quickly vowed to appeal.

The ruling by arbitrator William Caldwell came in response to a grievance filed with the Wilkinsburg school board by the local teachers’ union over the teachers’ dismissal. The union has been fighting the board’s decision to turn over the management of troubled Turner Elementary School to Alternative Public Schools Inc., a Nashville, Tenn.-based company.

Caldwell’s ruling was a setback for supporters of the venture, who won a temporary victory in a separate court case in October, when the state supreme court allowed the district’s agreement with the company to continue. The high court sent the lawsuit, filed against the district by the local union, the Pennsylvania State Education Association, and the National Education Association, back to lower courts.

Barbara Bell, the chief negotiator for the Wilkinsburg Education Association, said in January that the arbitrator based his ruling on three points: that state law makes subcontracting of teaching services illegal; that the district did not give the teachers one-semester notice required by the union’s current contract; and that there had been no student-population decline in the 1,900-student district. Under the teachers’ contract, Bell said, an enrollment decline is a prerequisite for teacher layoffs.

But Charles Steele, the school district’s lawyer, said the arbitrator’s ruling was in direct conflict with the state supreme court’s decision that the contract with APS could continue. The district’s appeal will be heard next by the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

--Jeanne Ponessa

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the March 01, 1996 edition of Teacher as Dismissed Teachers Fight Back

Events

School & District Management Webinar What's Ahead for Hybrid Learning: Putting Best Practices in Motion
It’s safe to say hybrid learning—a mix of in-person and remote instruction that evolved quickly during the pandemic—is probably here to stay in K-12 education to some extent. That is the case even though increasing
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Building Equitable Systems: Moving Math From Gatekeeper to Opportunity Gateway
The importance of disrupting traditional American math practices and adopting high-quality math curriculum continues to be essential for changing the trajectory of historically under-resourced schools. Building systems around high-quality math curriculum also is necessary to
Content provided by Partnership for L.A. Schools
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Measuring & Supporting Student Well-Being: A Researcher and District Leader Roundtable
Students’ social-emotional well-being matters. The positive and negative emotions students feel are essential characteristics of their psychology, indicators of their well-being, and mediators of their success in school and life. Supportive relationships with peers, school
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Nearly 9 in 10 Teachers Willing to Work in Schools Once Vaccinated, Survey Finds
Nearly half of educators who belong to the National Education Association have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
4 min read
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site setup for teachers and school staff at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa., on March 15, 2021.
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site set up for teachers and school staff in Reading, Pa., on March 15.
Matt Rourke/AP
Teaching Profession Q&A Nation's Top Teachers Discuss the Post-Pandemic Future of the Profession
Despite the difficulties this school year brought, the four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year award say they're hopeful.
11 min read
National Teacher of the Year Finalists (clockwise from top left): Alejandro Diasgranados, Juliana Urtubey, John Arthur, Maureen Stover
National Teacher of the Year Finalists (clockwise from top left): Alejandro Diasgranados, Juliana Urtubey, John Arthur, Maureen Stover
Courtesy of CCSSO
Teaching Profession Teachers Are Stressed Out, and It's Causing Some to Quit
Stress, more so than low pay, is the main reason public school teachers quit. And COVID-19 has increased the pressure.
7 min read
Image of exit doors.
pavel_balanenko/iStock/Getty
Teaching Profession Opinion Should Teachers Be Prioritized for the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Not all states are moving teachers to the front of the vaccination line. Researchers discuss the implications for in-person learning.
6 min read
Teacher Lizbeth Osuna from Cooper Elementary receives the Moderna vaccine at a CPS vaccination site at Roberto Clemente High School in Chicago, Ill., Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021.
Chicago public school teacher Lizbeth Osuna receives the COVID-19 vaccine at a school vaccination site last week.
Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP