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Appellate Division Affirms School Calendar is Non-Negotiable

By on September 25, 2018 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

On August 28, 2018, the New Jersey Appellate Division in West Morris Regional High School Board of Education v. Morris Regional Education Association, affirmed the Public Employment Relations Commission’s (“PERC”) determination that the start and end date of the school calendar is a non-negotiable managerial prerogative.

The dispute involved the collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) between the West Morris Regional High School Board of Education (“Board”) and the West Morris Education Association (“Association”). During their negotiations of a successor CBA, the Board sought to remove the following phrase from the CBA: “teachers…shall be employed from September 1 through June 30.” The Board argued that this language unlawfully interferes with the Board’s managerial prerogative to establish the school calendar. While the Association conceded that that Board has the managerial prerogative to establish the school calendar for students, the Association argued that the Board must negotiate the teachers’ calendar for the days when students are not present. The Association argued that N.J.S.A. 18A:36-2, which gives the Board the right to establish the school calendar, only applies to student calendars.

The Appellate Division rejected the Association’s narrow interpretation of N.J.S.A. 18A:36-2, reasoning that creating a distinction between a calendar for students and one for teachers undermines the Board’s managerial prerogative. Further, the Appellate Division explained that if the teachers’ calendar were negotiable, then the student calendar would be controlled by it, which further diminishes the Board’s managerial prerogative.

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Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev

About the Author

About the Author:

Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. concentrates her practice on the representation of boards of education and charter schools in all areas of school law including: labor and employment, special education, Section 504, student discipline, FERPA, Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, student residency, civil rights, tenure, OPRA, and OPMA. In connection with these representations, she is experienced in handling matters before State and Federal courts, including the Office of Administrative Law. Ms. Dev is an experienced special education litigator and defends school districts in due process hearings from inception through trial. In addition, she has handled matters before governmental agencies, including the U.S. Office for Civil Rights and New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. Ms. Dev routinely conducts training and seminars, drafts policies and manuals, and provides strategic advice to school administrators regarding school law issues. Ms. Dev was recently recognized as one of South Jersey’s Awesome Attorneys as published by South Jersey Magazine. She is licensed to practice law in New Jersey, the District Court for the District of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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