First Posted: 9/13/2013
KINGSTON — Wyoming Valley West teacher union President Linda Houck contends School Board President Gordon Dussinger was wrong when he told a crowd at Wednesday’s board meeting that no action could be taken regarding the middle school librarian position until a union grievance on the matter is settled.
Dussinger made the comment after resident Mike Harper presented a petition with more than 800 signatures asking the position be reinstated. The board eliminated the position last month and transferred librarian Joann Prushinski to split her time among three elementary schools.
The union launched a grievance contending that, by both state law and contract, such a move had to be announced in December.
But on Friday Houck said the board can take action on the position at any time during the grievance process, which she said has five steps, working the issue through the district hierarchy from building principal to superintendent to school board. If it is not resolved in any of those discussions, the union can take the matter to an arbitrator.
“Put simply, the district always has the power to resolve the situation before it progresses to the next level of authority; in this case, if the Superintendent or School Board said that the District will maintain the Middle School library program and hire an elementary librarian,” the union would simply drop the grievance, Houck wrote in an email.
The union also is grieving a board decision to curtail the elementary music program, which until this year had been taught full-time by Houck. In both cases the union does not dispute the board’s right to make the changes, but argues they had to be announced by the end of December last year, and were not.