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Board of Education of the Township of East Brunswick, Middlesex County v. East Brunswick Education Association

December 15, 2009

BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE TOWNSHIP OF EAST BRUNSWICK, MIDDLESEX COUNTY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
EAST BRUNSWICK EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Docket No. L-7612-07.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued October 28, 2009

Before Judges Sapp-Peterson and Espinosa.

Appellant, Board of Education of the Township of East Brunswick (Board), appeals from the trial court order confirming an arbitration award issued in favor of respondent East Brunswick Education Association (Association). We affirm.

The salient facts are not in dispute. The Board and the Association are parties to a collective bargaining agreement (Agreement) covering the period July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2006. At the commencement of the 2004-2005 school year, the Board calculated the daily rate of pay for certificated employees by using 187 days as the divisor in the calculation ratio. The Agreement makes no reference to "daily rate" or "per diem rate." The issue of the proper divisor for calculating daily rate of pay had been the subject of a 1989 grievance between the parties. In an April 5, 1989 Memorandum, the Association President memorialized a discussion that she had with the Assistant Superintendent of Personnel. The Memorandum was intended to resolve the grievance and stated:

The East Brunswick Board of Education and the East Brunswick Education Association agree that the daily rate of pay for 10 month salaried non-certified [sic] employees shall be computed by dividing their annual salary by 187 days. The daily rate of pay for 10 month salaried certified [sic] employees shall be computed by dividing their annual salary by 200 days.

Please advise in writing if these formulas still meet with your approval. Upon receipt of your confirmation, we will advise AAA that we have reached a settlement for arbitration #18 39 0373 88N.

The Assistant Superintendent sent a responding Memorandum dated April 13, 1989, in which she confirmed her understanding that "[t]he daily rate of pay for 10-month salaried certificated employees shall be computed by dividing their annual salary by 200 days. We are in agreement with this.... Again, my thanks for reaching an equitable resolution in this matter."

From that point going forward, the Board utilized 200 days as the divisor for calculating the daily rate of pay for 10-month salaried certificated employees until the commencement of the 2004-2005 school year. At that time, the Board changed the formula. The Association filed a grievance claiming the Board violated the Agreement by utilizing 187 days rather than 200 days as the divisor. The Association also filed a second grievance alleging that the Board violated the Agreement as to certificated staff who left the school district mid-year by not compensating them in accordance with the agreed upon formula of 1/20 of their salary per pay period worked.

The two grievances were consolidated and the parties proceeded to arbitration in accordance with the Agreement. They mutually agreed to limit the issues to:

(1) Did the Board of Education violate the collective bargaining agreement by utilizing the 1/187 versus 1/200 for calculating daily rates of pay for certificated employees? If so, what shall be the remedy?

(2) Did the Board of Education violate the collective bargaining agreement by paying certified [sic] employees with a change of status mid-year based on daily rates of ...


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