WV Supreme Court rules against unions in teacher definition case
By Ryan Quinn, WV Gazette-Mail
West Virginia Supreme Court unanimously reversed Wednesday a ruling that favored state education unions, in a case stretching back to 2011 and dealing with whom is defined as a “teacher.”
The high court reversed Monongalia Circuit Court Judge Phillip D. Gaujot’s June 2015 ruling that “interventionists” who work in Monongalia’s public school system must be considered classroom teachers and must be afforded the same benefits, hiring practices and other treatment as regular teachers.
The state chapter of the American Federation of Teachers union and the larger AFL-CIO union of which it is part filed suit in 2011 against the Monongalia public school system and its superintendent, Frank Devono, alleging they were skirting teacher employment laws by paying Regional Education Service Agency VII to hire for Monongalia what are effectively classroom teachers and calling them interventionists.
RESAs are the eight multi-county agencies meant to aid public school systems.
The state Board of Education, which governs the RESAs, filed a brief in the case in favor of the Monongalia school system, alongside all eight RESAs, the West Virginia Association of School Administrators and the West Virginia School Board Association.
AFT’s side received briefs in support from the other two main state education workers unions: the West Virginia Education Association and the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association.
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