Wisconsin School Board Ignores Ruling, Goes Along With Teacher Union Officials

Here is another example of how school boards colude with teacher union officials to keep monopoly bargaining in place, even when state law has prohibited it.  Teachers must still endure forced exclusive representation as long as school boards will not stand up to union officials’ power. Kim Lamoreaux has the story in the Sauk Prairie Eagle Online.

Operating under an opinion rendered by a Dane County Circuit Court judge, the Sauk Prairie School District approved a new contract with its staff Nov. 25, following negotiations with a union representing the district’s teachers.

School board president Richard Judge said he didn’t consider the changes to be raises.

“Our contract is identical to last year’s contract,” Judge said. “For the last five to six years positions have been frozen in place. We let people move to where they should be on the pay scale. Teachers gave up their inflationary increase this year. Even under Act 10 they were entitled to 2.1 percent increase, and this amounts to the same amount of money.”

Judge said that was a move negotiated with the school board and the Sauk Prairie Education Association, the union that represents the teaching staff.

Act 10, a law passed in 2011, limits collective bargaining to base wage increases only, and caps the total increase to the Consumer Price Index, or CPI, unless a referendum is approved to exceed the cap.

Under Act 10, any factor or condition of employment, or other types of compensation such as overtime, premium pay, merit pay, performance pay, supplemental compensation, pay schedules and automatic pay progressions are prohibited.

However, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas last year ruled portions of Act 10 were unconstitutional. An appeal of that ruling is under review by the State Supreme Court, which heard arguments in the case Nov. 11. It has not yet ruled in the matter.

Richard Judge said until the Supreme Court rules on Act 10’s legality, the Sauk Prairie School Board conducted negotiations as it always has with the teachers’ union.

“There is a court ruling that has declared Act 10 unconstitutional,” Richard Judge said. “Those provisions are not in effect. When the Colas decision came out, the Wisconsin Association of School Boards advised everyone to stop negotiating because no one knew what the ruling meant. While we were negotiating, the decision became clearer, most recently, this summer that said this applies to the entire state.”

Judge said even with the Colas ruling that his decision on the legality of Act 10 applied to the entire state, the decision would have applied to Sauk Prairie School District because some of its areas extend into Dane County.

He said while some districts are adhering to Act 10 and not negotiating at all with their teachers, the Sauk Prairie district exercised its right to at least have “talks” with the teachers.