COA rules teachers may negotiate for ancillary duty compensation

A dispute between a school corporation and teachers association that made its way before the Indiana Court of Appeals led to the court concluding the teachers may qualify for overtime for performing school-related duties outside of their normal teaching hours.

The Nettle Creek School Corporation and the Nettle Creek Classroom Teachers Association were unable to reach an agreement regarding the 2011-2012 school year contracts. Mediation also failed, so the two sides submitted their last best offers to the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board.

The teachers association initiated judicial review after the board adopted the school corporation’s LBO. In November 2013, the trial court found that the board erroneously determined that the relevant proffered provisions of the parties’ LBOs included an improper attempt to bargain hours rather than wages. The trial court also found that the board erroneously concluded that the teachers association’s LBO contained an improper attempt to bargain for an overtime compensation system that is inconsistent with both federal and Indiana law.

Both the state and federal law prevent teachers from earning overtime.

“[W]e interpret the law to provide that although the law does not allow for the receipt of overtime compensation by teachers related to their direct teaching functions, teachers are not necessarily excluded from receiving additional wages for required or agreed upon ancillary duties,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote in Ind. Education Employment Relations Board and Nettle Creek School Corp. v. Nettle Creek Classroom Teachers Assoc., 49A02-1402-PL-78.

“As such, we conclude that teachers may negotiate with their employers for the receipt of additional wages for these ancillary duties. In reaching this conclusion, however, we do not mean to say that a school corporation must compensate teachers for the ancillary duties, but only that the law allows that teachers may negotiate with their employers for additional compensation for said ancillary duties.”

On remand, the judges ordered the board to review the parties’ proffered LBOs taking into consideration the COA’s conclusion that the parties may negotiate for additional wages for required ancillary duties, i.e., duties that are required by the school corporation but are not considered to be direct teaching functions.

“We note, however, that in issuing this opinion, we do not mean to dictate any particular outcome to the Board. Our opinion merely sets forth the legal parameters under which the Board should consider the parties’ LBOs. The determination of which LBO to adopt as the parties’ contract is within the discretion of the Board so long as the Board’s decision is made in accordance with the legal parameters set herein,” Bradford wrote.  


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