Latest Dougco Lawsuit Suggests Little Beyond Need for Presidential Limelight

Since it’s Presidents Day today, it seems somewhat fitting to write about a local teachers union president seeking some limelight with a Friday lawsuit:

The Douglas County Federation of Teachers filed two lawsuits Friday, alleging that the Douglas County School District illegally didn’t consider teachers for job openings after being laid off and that it wrongly eliminated a bank of sick leave days.

“This is about treating teachers fairly and professionally, and acting within the law,” DCFT President Brenda Smith said in a news release. “The teachers who were downsized out of a job are veteran teachers with 60 plus years of experience between them.”

No word on whether the displaced instructors were better suited for new positions than those who were selected, or how effectively they help students at all. Their level of experience alone doesn’t tell us much on that front.

As to the other point, the news story neglected to point out that sick leave bank was replaced by district-funded short-term disability insurance. Current employees keep their accrued sick days, have the flexibility to “buy” extra benefits, and don’t necessarily have to use all their sick days before the benefit kicks in.

What’s the deal? It’s hard to disagree with the district’s characterization of the lawsuit as “frivolous.” A lot more help will be needed for me to see how this is designed to “put kids and classrooms first,” as the union’s front group claims to be about.

While the Presidents Day holiday recalls for some the service of little-known figures like Millard Fillmore, Grover Cleveland, and Rutherford B. Hayes, apparently it also keeps the name of the Douglas County Federation president out there. One wonders, though, what national AFT president Randi Weingarten would have to say about this case?

Or maybe Strong Schools Coalition is contemplating whether to chime in?