Teachers threaten lawsuit

District's rehiring practices sparks educator backlash
By: Brad Smith Telegraph Correspondent
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A few weeks ago, the Folsom Cordova Educators Association and the school district had hammered out an agreement to rescind more than 130 layoff notices sent to teachers over the summer. Educators are now threatening a lawsuit against the school district if the matter of rehiring isn’t resolved. Thanks to federal stimulus money and concessions made by educators and administrators, a number of teaching jobs and educational programs had been saved following negotiations, according to Folsom Cordova Unified School District officials. According to Mark Schultz, president of the FCEA, relations between his union and the district broke down over a disagreement over temporary teaching positions. Schultz said that the district is shunting aside teachers with seniority for teachers with less experience. “According to the state’s educational codes, that isn’t right,” Schultz said. Stephen Nichols, Folsom Cordova Unified School District’s public information officer, contends otherwise. “Our legal counsel assures us that we’re acting according to the letter of the law,” Nichols said. “We’re confident that any administrative judge would agree with us.” Schultz said the union attempted to resolve the matter on Aug. 6, “but nothing happened.” As for their next option, Schultz said that legal action isn’t out of the question. “The district’s not acting legally. Are we (the FCEA) prepared to take the district to court, to sue them? Yes,” Schultz said. Nichols said that any legal action “will be responded to accordingly. Yes, we will defend our actions in court.” Nichols said the district’s human resources personnel are making the “right choices” in the rehiring process and the district is standing behind those decisions. “If we have to take this to court,” Schultz said, “we will. We’re going to fight this.”