The long-standing contract dispute between the Carmel Clay School district and the teachers union could be resolved within the next 90 days, depending on the outcome of a recent hearing.
The Carmel Clay Education Association filed an 11-page complaint with the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board against the district late last year. The teachers union claims numerous “incorrect or incomplete representations of the facts from bargaining” e-mails and public statements from the school board and administration violated state labor law and “damaged” its bargaining position.
At issue are several e-mails and statements from school board members Greg Phillips and Andrew Klein, and Supt. Jeff Swensson. In his e-mail, Swensson instructs Carmel Clay principals and administrators to read the attached contract information and share it with the teachers, which many did.
As a result of the district’s actions, the complaint reads, several teachers put pressure on the contract negotiators to either accept or vote on the school district’s best offer.
According to the petition, the union seeks to not only stop all further communications with teachers regarding the negotiation, but also for the district’s last contract offer to the union to be rejected and the union’s final offer be accepted.
Neither David Day, the attorney for the school district, nor the teachers union representative, Eric Hytle, returned calls requesting comment.
Both sides presented their testimony at the two-day hearing, which was held at the Educational Services Center. The hearing examiner, attorney Bernard L. Pylitt, will issue his recommendation to the IEERB within the next 90 days. Either side would have 15 days to appeal.
Sarah W. Cudahy, general counsel for the IEERB, refused to comment on the specific proceedings. She also declined to give a specific number of similar cases the IEERD hears in a given year.
The teachers are currently working under the terms of their old contract, which expired in 2012. The two sides were in state-mandated mediation when the union filed the suit in December.
Laura Daily, the mother of two Carmel Clay students, says she hasn’t noticed any tension from the contract negotiations creeping into her children’s education. Because of that, she has no strong opinion about either side’s argument.
“It’s a frustrating process (for the teachers and the school district), but there hasn’t been any kind of impact on my kids,” Daily said. “I’m perfectly happy with the way the teachers and administrators are doing their jobs. I hope for their sake, the situation is resolved soon.”