School superintendents from around the state are looking for advice on how to react to the recent ruling by a Dane County judge striking down the collective bargaining restrictions passed by the legislature last year.
Superintendents want to know if the ruling by Judge Juan Colas means they have to reopen negotiations with teachers unions and begin deducting union dues from their paychecks again. They got multiple answers to those questions Friday in Madison at the annual meeting of the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators. The answers came from Peter Davis the attorney for the Wisconsin Employment relations Commission after he made this disclaimer, “What I am about to say is not necessarily reflective of the views of the Employment Relations committee as a legal entity."
Davis went on to describe a long list of possible implications for school districts and their unions. One of those is was that at least for the time being most superintendents don't have to change anything they are doing now. "There's at least an argument out there that unless you were party to those lawsuits you are not bound to Judge Cola's decision."
That was somewhat reassuring to Barron area School District Superintendent Monti Hallberg. "I'm going to proceed as I was going to proceed before the decision was made by Judge Colas. We have to have some sort of guidelines to operate our schools we have children in our schools. We have to pay our teachers, so I 'm going to do that in good faith."
The federal courts will have the last say on whether the collective bargaining restrictions are constitutional. Oral arguments in one of two pending federal lawsuits are set for Monday in the 7th District Court of Appeals in Chicago.