The Industrial Relations Act requires the board and teachers
association to submit to mandatory mediation or factfinding as ordered by
the Commission of Industrial Relations if the board and association have not
reached agreement by February 8 th , unless the parties mutually agree in
writing to forgo them.
Failure to Conclude Negotiations by February 8 th . If the parties
have not reached agreement by February 8 th , they must engage in fact
finding and mediation with a “resolution officer” if one of them files a petition
with the Commission of Industrial Relations requesting it. However, they are
not required to engage in fact finding if both agree in writing to forego it.
We recommend that you consult with your school district’s attorney before
February 8 th if it appears that you will not be able to settle negotiations.
Fact Finding Process. The fact finding process can be a complex
endeavor compressed into a very short period of time. The “resolution
officer” will be in charge of the process. Among other things, he or she will:
1. determine whether the issues are ready for adjudication;
2. identify the terms and conditions of employment that were in
dispute and negotiated in good faith but not resolved;
3. choose the offer that he/she believes was the most reasonable
final offer on each issue in dispute; and
4. issue a decision and recommendations by March 25 th .
Time Flies. Time flies, especially from February 8 th through March
25 th . The board and association have slightly more than 6 weeks to
assemble their records and data, perform a comparability study (this is not
required, but it is advisable), present the information and arguments, and
give the resolution officer enough time to review it and issue a decision and
Conclude Fact Finding by March 25 th . The resolution officer must
conclude the fact finding process and issue a decision and recommendations
by March 25 th or within 25 days after the certification of state aid for the
contract year in question, whichever occurs later. If the parties have not
reached agreement on or before the deadline for fact finding to conclude,
either one may file a petition with the Commission within 14 days asking it
to resolve the industrial dispute.
Commission of Industrial Relations Decision. The Commission
will limit its consideration to those issues which the resolution officer
determined that the parties negotiated in good faith but could not agree
upon. The Commission will decide the case based on its traditional criteria of
comparability and prevalence, not on the resolution officer’s standard of the
“most reasonable final offer.” It must issue its decision for the contract year
by September 15 th .
If you are a KSB client and you believe that you will not reach an
agreement, please let us know immediately. If you have questions, we
recommend that you consult with your school district’s attorney or call
Karen, Steve or Bobby.