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Board of Educ. v. Indian Pr. Educ. Ass'n





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. John S. Teschner, Judge, presiding.


Rehearing denied February 5, 1986.

Plaintiff, board of education of Indian Prairie Community Unit School District No. 204 (the board), appeals from an order of the circuit court which denied its motion to stay arbitration of a dispute with defendant, Indian Prairie Education Association (the association). The board contends that the dispute is not arbitrable under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement between the parties.

We must consider in this case the relationship between the collective bargaining agreement and a "memorandum of understanding" between the parties relating to class size and teacher assignments. The collective bargaining agreement contains a provision requiring binding arbitration of grievances which arise from it, as is required by section 10(c) of the Educational Labor Relations Act (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1984 Supp., ch. 48, par. 1710(c)). The memorandum of understanding does not contain an arbitration provision and the parties draw different conclusions from that circumstance.

The collective bargaining agreement was by its terms made effective retroactively to the first teacher employment date of the 1984-85 school year and sets forth wages, hours and other terms of employment to which the parties had agreed. Article II of that agreement also reserved certain subjects to the control of the board, providing:

"The Board, on behalf of the electors of the District, retains and reserves the ultimate responsibilities for proper management of the Indian Prairie Community Unit District 204 * * * including but not limited to, the responsibilities for the right:

4. To determine class schedules, the student attendance day, and the responsibilities and assignments of those in the bargaining unit.

The exercise of the foregoing powers, rights, authorities, duties and responsibilities by the Board, the adoption of policies, rules, regulations and practices in furtherance thereof, shall be limited only by law and the specific and express terms of this Agreement." (Emphasis added.)

In the printed pamphlet containing both the collective bargaining agreement and the memoranda of the understanding, the parties inserted a divider page between the two sections which states:

"The attached Memos of Understanding were accomplished during the period of negotiations which led to a negotiated Agreement, with the understanding that the Memos of Understanding would not be in the Agreement. However, the parties have agreed to include the Memos of Understanding beyond the last official page of the Agreement only as a convenience to the Indian Prairie Education Association and the Indian Prairie Board of Education, with the original intent remaining permanent in that these Memos are not part of the negotiated Agreement."

The memorandum relating to class sizes was signed October 28, 1984, and states that a class size review committee will make written recommendations to the board superintendent by January 15 of each year. It also noted "current guidelines" for the committee, including that,

"the number of different courses of instruction (preparation) shall not normally exceed three (3) for any one teacher. When it is necessary or desirable to assign a teacher more than three (3) courses of instruction, the teacher shall be given a second preparation (planning) period in lieu of the supervision period if the assignment is more than one (1) semester each year."

On November 8, 1984, a dispute arose between Scott Rebman, a teacher at Waubonsee Valley High School, and Mr. Nordengren, an assistant principal, concerning whether Rebman had been properly assigned to manage a supervision period. Rebman contended that the class size memorandum allowed him a free period, but Nordengren considered that the memorandum had not yet been put into effect, and that it was insubordination for Rebman to refuse to oversee the supervision period. A letter to this effect was put into Rebman's personnel file.

The association filed a class grievance over the incident to which the board responded that the memorandum was not in effect and was not to be implemented until the following semester. On January 3, 1985, the association filed a demand for arbitration with the American Arbitration Association stating the issue to be whether or not the class size memorandum was in effect at the time the teacher was assigned to manage the supervision period. On February 7, 1985, the board filed a motion in the circuit court to stay arbitration pursuant to section 102(b) of the Uniform Arbitration Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 10, par. 102(b)). That ...

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