Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

July 25, 2013

School Committee statement on ruling


The Andover Townsman

---- — Here is the complete text of School Committee Chairman Dennis Forgue’s July 22 statement on behalf of his committee regarding the decision not to appeal the Commonwealth Employment Relations Board’s ruling on Jen Meagher:

The School Committee met in executive session on July 19 to review the July 2 decision of the Commonwealth Employment Relations Board, which overturned the dismissal of Jennifer Meagher. After consultation with counsel, the committee has decided not to appeal the CERB’s decision.

The committee is deeply disappointed with the CERB’s ruling that Ms. Meagher had the right to send an email to other teachers in June 2012, urging them to use their votes on the New England Association of Schools and Colleges’ self-study process in a way that would block the high school’s accreditation from going forward in order to gain leverage in bargaining the teachers’ contract. While we respect the CERB’s authority to issue binding rulings in this area, we fundamentally disagree with its conclusion that activity, which could have a direct negative impact on students and potentially their choices after high school, is permissible.

Nonetheless, pursuing an appeal would be a costly, time-consuming and uncertain process given the significant limitations placed on an appellate court in reviewing the CERB’s decisions. Notwithstanding the events involved in this case, we were able to reach a fair and equitable collective bargaining agreement with the teachers’ union, the accreditation process went forward and the high school has been reaccredited. The committee has decided that it is in the best interests of the school district and our students to accept the CERB’s decision and move on. We will comply in full with the CERB’s order in this case.

Our focus now is on continuing to move our strategic plan forward by supporting the administration, leadership team and the district and to ensure that we are continuing to provide a superior education for the students in the Andover Public Schools.