The following was submitted by the Manhasset Union Free School District.
On April 23 the Manhasset Board of Education received the Appellate Division Third Department's decision in The Matter of Manhasset Union Free School District v. New York State Public Employment Relations Board and Manhasset Educational Support Personnel Association, NYSUT, AFT, AFL-CIO. This decision concerns the lawsuit filed by the district's support personnel bargaining unit (MESPA) relating to the district's outsourcing of its public school student transportation operations effective July 1, 2005.
In the summer of 2008, the district appealed the decision and the order in this lawsuit rendered by the New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB). The PERB order would have required the board to discontinue the outsourcing of its public school transportation operations and to restore the personnel and facilities of its former transportation department by repurchasing buses and rehiring employees.
While the board disagrees with the Appellate Court's substantive findings, the board is pleased that the Appellate Court determined that PERB's order is "unreasonable." Quoting from page 5 (citations eliminated) of the decision:
"We do agree with petitioner (the district), however, that PERB's remedial order, which requires petitioner to cease transferring the unit work of transporting public school students to non-unit employees, should be modified. While 'a remedy fashioned by PERB for an improper practice 'should be upheld if reasonable' 'it is for the courts to examine the reasonable application of PERB's remedies.' PERB's order requires petitioner to restore the personnel and facilities of its former transportation department. Because petitioner has already sold its buses and leased its garage, compliance with the order may require taxpayer approval, which may or may not be forthcoming, and could be delayed by petitioner's contractual obligations. Under these unique circumstances, we find that enforcement of the current order is unreasonable and we remit the matter to PERB to fashion a remedy that will allow for the contingencies that could prevent petitioner's compliance."
The school district intends to continue to provide district residents with state-of-the-art transportation services at the most reasonable cost possible. In light of the Court's decision, the board is considering the next steps in this legal matter. The school district, as it has from the inception of this matter, remains willing to discuss a reasonable resolution which will serve the needs of our taxpayers and our former employees. At this time, the district believes that it has adequate funds reserved to meet the requirements of the Appellate Court decision, without any further impact to the taxpayers of Manhasset. There is no impact of this decision on the 2009-10 budget.
The decision is posted on the district's website.