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Published: Wednesday, 8/18/2004

Teachers union files lawsuit over layoff of 400 subs

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo Public Schools officials are saying little about a recent decision to lay off all of the district s 400 substitute teachers, a move that prompted the teachers union to file a lawsuit yesterday.

The district sent out the layoff notices in early July, which will require all substitute teachers to reapply for their positions.

David Welch, president of the school board, said most have done so and been rehired, though he didn t know how many. We need substitutes there s no doubt about it, he said.

The administration s decision to lay off the substitute teachers prompted the union s lawsuit yesterday. The union is seeking a temporary restraining order to stop the layoffs.

The Toledo Federation of Teachers believes the layoffs amount to a lockout, according to the lawsuit filed in the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas.

School officials and attorneys for both sides wouldn t discuss the suit. Francine Lawrence, president of the Toledo Federation of Teachers, did not return repeated calls seeking comment.

According to the suit, the district unilaterally and without notice improperly gave a blanket notice of layoff to all substitute teachers. The lawsuit also alleges that the school district disproportionately ordered staff reductions.

It contends that the school district breached that understanding by attempting to include the cost of the substitute teachers, who are under a separate collective bargaining agreement, in the full-time teachers unit.

The suit seeks a temporary restraining order in lieu of a preliminary injunction after a hearing and a permanent injunction in the matter.

Both sides met for several hours yesterday in hopes of resolving the matter but could not reach an agreement.

Clinton Faulkner, executive assistant to the superintendent for human resources, said both the union and the district agreed not to comment on the lawsuit.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.comor 419-724-6171.



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