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Sunday, November 7, 2010

The 3020-a Arbitration Process: FAQs

Teacher Tenure Hearing (3020a)

1. Are hearings held before a hearing officer or a panel?
Disciplinary charges brought by an employing board against a tenured employee are heard by a single hearing officer except when the charges concern pedagogical incompetence or issues involving pedagogical judgement. In these cases only, the employee may choose to have the charges heard by either a single hearing officer or a three-member panel.

2. What types of changes are considered pedagogical?
While the term "pedagogical" is not defined in either the statute or the Commissioner's Regulations, charges that fall into that category include inability to control a class, failure to prepare required lesson plans, failure to maintain certification, and other matters that directly pertain to teaching techniques and issues of this nature. Go to top

3. Who provides the list of Hearing Officers?
The American Arbitration Association (AAA) maintains the panel of potential hearing officers for Section 3020-a proceedings. This association also provides a list for each individual proceeding.

4. Is there a fee associated with requesting a hearing?
The AAA is a non profit organization which relies on administrative fees to continue providing services. Commissioner's Regulations as amended by the Board of Regents in September 1994 stipulate that the fee for providing the list of potential hearing officers for Section 3020-a proceedings is to be paid by the School District preferring the charges. This fee is $150.00. If the parties are unable to mutually select a hearing officer and request that the AAA make the selection, an additional fee of $50.00 will be required. Go to top

5. When is a hearing commenced?
Under the law, a hearing is commenced when the State Education Department submits a request to AAA for a list of potential hearing officers.

6. As a taxpayer, don't I have the right to know if a teacher in our school has been brought up on charges?
Section 3020-a provides an avenue for resolving disciplinary issues between an employer and an employing board. Until an individual has been found guilty by a hearing officer or hearing panel, all aspects of the disciplinary proceeding are strictly confidential. If the employee is found to be guilty of one or more of the charges, the record is then available pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law.

7. What if I don't want anyone on the list of hearing officers that was provided by AAA?
A list of potential hearing officers is compiled by the American Arbitration Association and forwarded to the attorneys representing the employing board and the employee, or to the employee if he or she is not so represented. A fee of $100 is paid by the board for such list. The list consists of fifteen individuals who are qualified to serve as hearing officers under the law.

In the interests of expediting these proceedings, it has been determined that one list will be provided per case. If the parties are unable to mutually select an arbitrator, AAA will make the selection from the list of fifteen that has been provided.

8. How do I get to be on the list?
The American Arbitration Association maintains the list of individuals who are qualified to serve as hearing officers. Contact the Syracuse office of AAA at (315) 472-5483 for information.

Qualification Criteria for Employment Arbitrators (AAA)
Employment Arbitration Rules and Mediation
Delaying Tactics in Arbitration
Labor, Employment and Elections Update

1 comment:

Barry Hersh said...

Interesting, for my 3020-a hearings I was never consulted or given the option of a three-member hearing panel. Unless I'm mistaken, nor did I (or my NYSUT attorney) have any say in the choosing of my arbitrator as this was pre-ordained by the Department's TPU unit. Yet, these failures in following the law's protocols pale in comparison to other egregious illegalities, not the least of which is how the charges were proferred in the first place. The law states the district Board of Education must review charges leveled against a tenured pedagogue and, should the Board vote as such, the Board must profer said charges. My charges, as well as all others I'm aware of, were proferred by the principal! Guess what, there is no longer a NYC Board of Education, as it was disbanded when our good mayor was given control over the schools. How convenient, no Board to review charges (we now have the PEP, the mayor's kangaroo panel). To my understanding this has led to the illegal proferring of charges by principals. Where is the UFT's outrage, why haven't these illegalities been brought to light?
You know the answer as well as I, we're the thorn in the side issue they wish would just go away. And it's next to impossible to shed light on this to the general public when the media is in the mayor's pocket, and only concerned about sensational stories of teachers having sex with students and sitting in rubber rooms making $100,000...
Thanks again to Betsy for her eloquent voicing of these issues, but without the union's support how may we really fight this?