January 2017 Issue
February 01, 2017

Laid off in error, teacher wins appeal

Author: By Ned Hoskin
Source: NYSUT United

With support from NYSUT legal services, a Glens Falls teacher who was laid off in error in 2013 has returned to the district.

Through no fault of his own, Randy Tyner, a 25-year veteran and National Board Certified Teacher, had been granted tenure in a tenure area that did not exist — "gifted and talented." So, when budget cuts forced layoffs in the district, he was not even on any seniority list.

"The situation was pretty cut and dried," said Glens Falls TA President Brandon Lis, but the union was unable to negotiate a solution with the administration.

Megan Mercy, a NYSUT attorney, filed an appeal with the State Education Department, saying the district should have corrected the mistake and put him in an actual tenure area. NYSUT argued he should have been placed in the area of his certification (English 7–12) and would have had seniority and should not have been laid off. The district countered that it tried to put him in a tenure area, but, it would have been elementary education and he was not certified in that area.

Commissioner MaryEllen Elia recently decided the appeal in Tyner's favor and ordered the district to restore his seniority with back pay. While the appeal was pending, Tyner earned further certification in elementary education. After winning the appeal, he was placed in a first-grade classroom and was given the appropriate seniority.

It's a win-win: Glens Falls students get a great teacher back, and Tyner gets the credit he deserves.

"I am incredibly grateful for the union's support," Tyner said. "Without the union, and the legal team they provided, it's highly unlikely that my family and I would now be experiencing the fair restoration of my career."