By Pete Smith
The Carmel Clay Education Association has appealed the ruling of a state fact-finder to the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board.
The fact-finder had determined that a contract proposed by the Carmel schools administration should be applied retroactively for the 2012-13 school year.
Assistant Superintendent Roger McMichael expressed dismay with the appeal at the Oct. 28 school board meeting, saying the appeal would further delay raises for teachers.
Oral arguments in the appeal are scheduled for Nov. 18 and a ruling is expected by Nov. 25.
The contract negotiations began in August 2012, but neither side could reach an agreement. The talks entered state-mandated mediation before a lawsuit was filed in November 2012 by the teachers’ association alleging unfair labor practices, said Brian Lyday, president of the teachers’ association and a fifth-grade teacher at Towne Meadow Elementary School.
That lawsuit and its appeals process were recently resolved, and a decision on a 2012-13 contract was sent to a fact-finder after Carmel teachers overwhelmingly voted to reject the administration’s “last best offer” contract.
The reason the fact-finder, Sandra Jensen, said she could not accept the teachers’ proposed version of a contract was because it would exceed the school district’s annual revenue and result in the need for deficit financing.
The district’s teachers have been the only ones in the state without a contract, and the entire appeals process is blazing new legal ground.
Contract negotiations between the two sides over a 2013-14 contract are currently in state-mandated mediation.