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SUMNER COUNTY, Tenn.- The Sumner County School Board has agreed to a federal settlement after being sued by the local teacher's union over teacher pay.
The case began in February 2011, when the school board voted not to recognize the union and began to make decisions without the union's input after the first of the year. The union said the move was illegal and filed a lawsuit to stop the Board's actions and officially recognize the union.
The lawsuit stated that the Sumner County School Board violated the First Amendment and state law in its actions against the union, the Sumner County Education Association (SCEA).
The settlement in the lawsuit was reached this month. Under the agreement the director of schools will send a letter to all teachers clarifying that the law in fact allows teachers and their associations like the SCEA to engage in many activities and communications that the board previously restricted. The Board also agreed to restore payroll deduction of SCEA dues and to reimburse the SCEA a sum of $50,000 for attorneys' fees and expenses incurred by the SCEA in pursuing the settled case.
"This is a good settlement for the SCEA and for teachers in Sumner County," said SCEA president Dr. Alzenia Walls. "It vindicates the principles that led us to believe at the outset that this lawsuit was necessary. We are especially gratified that the director welcomed our proposal to meet regularly to discuss educational and employment concerns. We hope board members will choose to join us in those meetings and that this will mark the beginning of an improved relationship between the Sumner County Board and its teachers."