NAMPA — Nampa School District Interim Superintendent Thomas Michaelson received a letter Friday from Paul Stark, general counsel of the Idaho Education Association, which claims the district acted illegally when it added an addendum to individual teacher contracts providing them the option to volunteer furlough days.
Nampa School District Public Information Officer Allison Westfall said the district is consulting with its legal counsel regarding the letter.
The district created the addendum when “many” teachers asked what could be done to help fix the $4.3 million budget shortfall after the board imposed four furlough days on classified staff Dec. 11.
In the letter, Stark states the district is “requiring teachers within the school district to attend mandatory meetings, and then pressuring those teachers to accept a change in terms and conditions of their employment.” Stark said in the letter those tactics are “improper” and “illegal” and alleges the district is in violation of Idaho codes 33-1271 and 33-513(1).
The codes say any term and condition for the employment of a teacher must be negotiated with the education association and the board can only employ teachers on a written contract approved by the state superintendent of public instruction, respectively.
Stark said the district administration “has not even once attempted to discuss” the addendum with Nampa Education Association President Mandy Simpson, choosing instead to deal with individual teachers.
Simpson was a member of the special budget committee that met over multiple weeks to find budget remedies. Calls to Simpson were not returned Tuesday.
Stark said there is no indication the addendum forms have been approved by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna. Melissa McGrath, spokeswoman with the State Department of Education, said the SDOE had not received a contract addendum from the Nampa School District as of Tuesday.
Stark said Nampa teachers he spoke with feel pressured to sign the addendum.