Grandfathered Salary Suit Filed Against Miami-Dade Schools

Last week, the Grandfathered Salary lawsuit was served upon Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Read the redacted complaint filed in federal court in Miami (redacted due to federal law per personal information of plaintiffs).

In the fall of 2015, M-DCPS and the United Teachers of Dade together unlawfully changed a legislatively designated “grandfathered salary schedule.”

Thus, a group of teachers incorporated as “The Grandfathered Inc.” decided to take action and challenge M-DCPS’ and UTD’s unlawful collusion in court and to set the record straight.

Sadly, the United Teachers of Dade sided with M-DCPS in PERC and is opposed to this lawsuit.

Why would 19,000 teachers sue the School Board of Miami Dade Public Schools for $60 million in lost salaries?

Because a law passed by the Florida Legislature in 2011 required that as of July 1, 2014, whatever salary schedule was in place would thence forth be frozen in time, or, as the statute phrased it, grandfathered.  But the school district just didn’t do it.

The current law (Fla. Stat. §1012.22) was intended to prevent further annual increases to district salary schedules for teachers hired before July 1, 2014.  Teachers hired after that date would receive performance pay, which would be calculated or derived from the greatest increment between levels of the grandfathered schedule, depending upon a teacher’s effectiveness.  In theory, performance pay would quickly out-pace the frozen schedule forcing veteran teachers to relinquish their tenure to join the new comers.

However, M-DCPS just kept on bargaining new schedules to attack the higher end salary steps for teachers approaching retirement.  And not incidentally, for two years, the District did not award any performance pay whatsoever.   The damage to teacher salaries is estimated at $20 million per year.

A few points of the lawsuit explained:

  1. The statutes (both of them) are easy to read:

Grandfathered Salary Schedule — The District school board shall adopt a salary schedule or salary schedules to be used as the basis for paying all school employees hired before July 1, 2014.

Florida Statute § 1012.22 (1) (c) 4. a. (emphasis added).

Grandfathered salary schedule means the salary schedule or schedules adopted by a district school board before July 1, 2014, pursuant to subparagraph 4. (Cited immediately above).

Florida Statute § 1012.22 (1) (c) 1. b. (emphasis added).

  1. How about an example of grandfathering?

Many cellular phone carriers including AT&T and Verizon had an unlimited data plan in the past, but these plans were discontinued. However, customers who already had subscribed to unlimited data plans could continue them for as long as they kept the same service. They were grandfathered.  But not new subscribers.  For them, the unlimited plan was no longer available, and they had to select from a limited plan.

  1. Some examples of 2015-16 salary schedule deviations from the grandfathered salary schedule:

Step

17             48,425             Down $1,875.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
19             51,900             Down $1,200.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
21             57,350             Down $1,000.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
22             60,775             Down $3,539.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
23             66,575             Down $3,750.00 from the grandfathered schedule.

  1. The District tried to justify it by saying that the grandfathered salary schedule would be any schedule they “designated as such.”

The below video highlights a large part of the problem, which is M-DCPS seemingly diverting money meant for teacher salaries into capital projects.  From the video, you can view teacher Shawn Beightol putting Superintendent Carvalho on the spot at a public forum on this issue and view a PERC transcript with talking points that debunk District explanations.

The progress of the lawsuit can be followed on the  Grandfathered Salary Suit Facebook page.

If you are a M-DCPS teacher and desire to collect damages and regain your steps, sign a retainer.

Please note the lawyers will be paid out of the settlement, so you, the teacher, will not be billed lawyer fees, and legal costs are being covered by donations.

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