In need of legal advice:

Discussion in 'TM Lounge' started by dizforprez, Aug 2, 2004.

  1. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

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    Nov 2, 2003
    I am a band director about to start my second year teaching. Today during a morning meeting we were informed that our contracts that we signed last April were being voided( which they claim they can do uder a state law "reduction in work force") and a new one was being issued that laid out a 3 % cut from all teacher salaries. This will amount to a $1095 pay cut for me for the year.

    Is any one on here familiar with contract law and able to offer some advice on what my rights are?
     
  2. MUSICandCHARACTER

    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

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    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
    That stinks!

    My guess is they can do it or they would have thousands of lawsuits. But contract law, especially regarding state, local, or district employees varies from state to state and so forth. Contact a lawyer. Ask for a hour of his/her time. Pay for only the hour (most will do this). Ask your questions from someone who knows the law in your area.

    Jim
     
  3. trpguyy

    trpguyy Piano User

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    Nov 26, 2003
    Technically, they could cut your position entirely then put it back at a lower pay rate.
     
  4. W Scott

    W Scott Piano User

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    Dec 8, 2003
    Carson City, NV.
    Well, it all depends on what state you are in. Talk to the state labor board for the state you are in. I've had employers try to change labor contracts where the methods attempted were illegal. By going to the state labor board we stopped the attempted changes. If you don't get any satisfaction at the state labor board, then try a labor law attorney.


    Bill
     
  5. dbacon

    dbacon Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 24, 2003
    Scottsdale, AZ.
    Are you in the Union?

    Whatever else people will say, the Union is often your only help in public school teaching.

    By the way, I'm coming up on 28+ years of band directing.

    School starts Friday with meetings, kids next Tuesday.

    Looks to be the best band I've ever had!

    Bottom line, look around the country at your age for where you want to teach. After a while you can't move, you loose to much in seniority.

    They can do it of course.
     
  6. DaveH

    DaveH Piano User

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    Nov 27, 2003
    I don't know anything about the legal issues involved, but I would think that the school board/administration has probably checked out or knows the legal aspects of their position. It would seem rather strange to do something like that, and at the same time not know whether there was any kind of legal ground to stand on...

    If this is a public school, 3% sounds like the amount of a yearly pay increase as part of a negotiated multi-year contract is being rescinded. Again, it seems likely to me that any sort of pay cuts, reductions in force would be covered somewhere in the contract...it may be possible that this is allowed by the contract as an option to layoffs.

    What is the position of the teacher's association(also known as the "union")? Is this in response to a failed school levy? Does this affect everyone in the district - "across the board," so to speak? Any strike pending? Reduction in force usually applies to lay-offs and elimination of positions. However, perhaps this is a way of avoiding actually reducing the work force...instead using pay cuts to accomplish some sort of cost cutting plan...

    Don't know, but I think that it is NOT a good time to be a teacher in general. There was a time when teaching was a good and stable job - now it seems to be just like anything else...one of the problems in this state is that the State legislature is ignoring a Supreme Court ruling to change the system of funding public education, evidently hoping local communities will just keep passing levies, and it isn't working. Most levies are routinely defeated. Most schools are in big financial trouble
     
  7. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

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    Nov 2, 2003
    Well it has been a long week as we started back to school but I wanted to give you guys an update.

    I did talk with a lawyer that said we had a nice class action suit on our hands but none of the other teachers want to go in with me; to many other issue involved. We needed some one at school that was close to retirement, and with tenure, to stand up and lead this charge so to speak but the few that fit the bill lack drive for that.


    Looks like I will have to suck it up for a year.

    Thanks for the advice guys.
     
  8. DaveH

    DaveH Piano User

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    87
    Nov 27, 2003
    I know how you feel...I'm facing a "no raise" year this year for the first time in 15 years...we don't have pay cuts - just no raises. It's similar to what you are talking about.

    We are told that it is a temporary thing...

    My present plan is to work a little bit part time which will offset the raise. No much - just a few hours a week. We'll see what happens as the year progresses...

    Good luck...I imagine those who are close to retirement aren't really interested in the hassle...they probably don't really care...their thoughts are "elsewhere," so to speak...
     
  9. MUSICandCHARACTER

    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

    1,140
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    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
    It still stinks.

    Teachers do a lot of work. They have less and less discipline tools to work with and more and more responsibility. Highly trained and educated to make little money. What a society.

    Professional musicians (of the symphonic variety rather than the bling-bling variety) practice up to 8 hours a day and make almost a living wage after working through Julliard or Eastman or some other fine music school.

    It is crappy.

    We get terrible pay and no benefits at the church (for example I have a master's degree in theology and a doctorate and they want me to work full-time for $20K a year) but we expect that and get to work when we want most of the time. When we start paying school teachers better, the good ones will stay. OK , off the soapbox.

    Jim
     
  10. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

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    Nov 2, 2003
    we georgia teachers have not had a raise in 3 years! and this cut in pay will take away the one we would have gotten this year. so make that 4 !
     

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