When asked for a response to statements made by Clay Community Classroom Teachers' Association President Russ True, Clay Community School Board of Trustees President Steve Grigsby declined an interview.
Instead, he responded in writing, after attorneys checked his written statement.
In each of the newspaper reports about this topic, The Brazil Times has given both sides the opportunity to have their say. Both sides have not always been available.
We are publishing parts of Mr. Grigsby's statement in the interest of fairness to both sides and for the benefit of our readers:
- Regarding the board's update at the March 16 school board meeting:
"All seven board members agreed to support this bargaining update," Grigsby wrote. "The statement that was read at the public meeting was previously read and shared with Mr. Dave Emmert, chief attorney, for the Indiana School Boards Association, prior to releasing any information to the public. Mr. Emmert said as long as we stay with the facts about the bargaining process, this is permissible under Indiana law."
- Regarding private negotiations:
"The Classroom Teachers' Association claims that the school board agreed to not go public with information," Grigsby wrote. "The board agreed to keep everything in the room with respect to bargaining, providing the teachers bargaining team honored the same agreement. A comment was made when we adjourned our meeting from a teacher association member stating everything was to stay in the room. The board agreed; however, prior to the March 16 school board meeting, the Clay Community Classroom Teachers' Association circulated a petition for the teachers at Clay City and Northview high schools in response to issues brought up in the bargaining session. Most of the people who signed the petition were not in the bargaining room. Therefore, the teachers' bargaining team did not honor the agreement to keep everything in the room and the board was no longer bound to the agreement. This is the reason the board decided to go public.
"The statement read at the public meeting was in fact the teachers' proposal at the February meeting with exception to the seven-period day. The language as to how the seven-period day would be defined is still a concern for both sides."
- Scheduling information
"The teachers' association claims that the board withheld scheduling information from them for three years. On Dec. 8, 2004, our superintendent stated in the public fact-finding meeting that when he came to the corporation there were huge stacks of information that had been studied regarding full-day kindergarten and the seven-period day. In reality, the information has been available to teachers for over three years. The school board did provide another update on March 3, 2006, to the teachers' association."
The study hall with 500 students would not be a traditional study hall, Grigsby said.
"This would be a time when the students with low academic performance would receive some type of intervention with certified teachers. Examples would be remediation, lab work, retesting, tutorial help, etc. Another example would be an "A" honor student who is doing poorly in an advanced class. This would be a time when teachers could work to help those students during the regular school day."
- Regarding the teachers' association's unfair labor practice complaint:
"After consultation with our attorneys from Bose, McKinney and Evans, the school board will most likely file an unfair counter claim against the teachers' association and consider a more serious claim against the association's president for public comments made about board members.
"The only guaranteed outcome in this process is that it will delay the bargaining process between the teachers and the board and most importantly it will delay the educational opportunities for students in Clay Community Schools."
Grigsby also expressed appreciation for the teachers in Clay Community Schools, writing, "We have many outstanding and excellent teachers in this corporation who really care about our students. The school board thanks, respects and appreciates those teachers who continue to do their professional duties of educating our youth."