The Potluck

Edina teachers’ union files legal grievance over COVID-19 layoffs

By: - September 4, 2020 10:29 am

A teacher readies her classroom. Photo by Dave Einsel/Getty Images.

The union representing Edina teachers filed a legal grievance in August over pandemic-related layoffs that the union says violated their contract, the Edina Sun Current reported.

The contract requires the district to notify teachers about employment changes by July 1. But the district laid off parent education teachers in August, days before they were scheduled to return to work, and told preschool teachers that they could only offer them jobs without the benefits laid out in the teachers’ contract, said Tom Connell, president of Education Minnesota/Edina.

Edina Public Schools spokesperson Mary Woitte said that Edina, like other districts, had to reduce classroom capacity because of COVID-19 safety measures and adjusted staffing in line with declining enrollment.

Five of the district’s six parent educators, who teach parenting classes for families, were laid off, Woitte said. The district isn’t offering those parenting classes until the spread of COVID-19 slows, she told the Sun Current.

Parent educators and preschool teachers typically wouldn’t be included in the same bargaining unit as K-12 teachers, but the district agreed to allow them to join the teachers’ unit in 2017, Connell said.

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Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a former data reporter for the Minnesota Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.