Do school boards have to ask their teachers’ unions for permission before switching over to computer-based reporting?

The Connecticut Education Association filed a complaint with the state’s Board of Labor Relations alleging that the Milford Board of Education violated its contract with the union when it began requiring their special education teachers to use the computer to file education plans for their students instead of handwriting them.

Union leaders’ main concern: it was taking their teachers longer to file their reports on a computer.

The labor board dismissed the complaint last month, saying, “There was no substantial impact to the workload of special education teachers requiring bargaining.”

The labor board ruled the same way in a similiar case last year in Bridgeport, whose teachers are also represented by the CEA.

Floyd J. Dugas, a lawyer for several school boards across the state, wrote on his firm’s online blog that had the labor board voted the other way, other districts would have been significantly impacted.

“Thankfully, the Labor Board exercised common sense, something the CEA should have done before undertaking a three year long battle and causing at least two school districts to expend significant resources,” he wrote.

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Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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