According to administration officials, their attorney had offered the legal opinion that the administration had the authority to move the flex days as calendar matters were not subject to union negotiation. A Court of Appeals case was trotted out which officials said, according to their attorney, trumped the terms of the teachers' contract which by operation of law was to continue in effect until a new contract is negotiated.
Unfortunately, the Board did not have anyone to offer legal advice. They were stuck with the administration attorney's opinion. As I told people afterwards, that attorney is an advocate for the administration. His job is not to offer objective legal advice to the Board but rather to find a legal argument to support the administration's position. The Board is the legislative branch, a check on the administration. The Board needs to have its own counsel in situations like this
When I arrived home, I looked up the court case. The court case said that only under certain circumstances are calendar matters mandatory negotiation items for a collective bargaining. The case doesn't say that those calendar items can't be negotiated. Most importantly, the case's holding regarding negotiating calendar issues also certainly doesn't trump the terms of an existing contract as was represented to the teachers union representatives at the meeting.
While the flex day issue is not a major one for the teachers, the conflict could have been avoided with a better working relationship between the administration and the teachers' union. It is amazing what treating others with respect and honesty can do to create a better working environment. Misleading teachers about what the law says about school calendars and their contract is not a good start to collective bargaining.