School district, employees reach settlement
Mid-Del has 30 days to develop list of individuals eligible for back pay
By Jeff Harrison
The Mid-Del School District and its support employees agreed to principles of settlement agreement in a lawsuit over holiday pay.
The Mid-Del Support Employees Association, the labor union representing support employees, filed a civil lawsuit in 2014 over unpaid wages for holidays. The support employees said the district breached the contract by not paying support employees for holiday that fall during their contract year.
An Oklahoma County District court judge sided with the support employees. Mid-Del Schools unsuccessfully challenged the ruling in the Court of Appeals in January and State Supreme Court in May.
The two parties reached a settlement agreement last month. The Mid-Del School Board approved the agreement at a special meeting last month.
Mid-Del Superintendent Rick Cobb said he was pleased with the outcome of the negotiations.
“Obviously it’s a relief to have a settlement in place,” Cobb said. “Both sides had to give a little ground to get there. I’m really happy with where the outcome is.”
In the settle agreement, the school district agrees to pay eligible employees and former employees for holidays that occurred during their contract years. The settlement affects employees who worked for the district between the 2011-12 and 2017-18 school years.
The school district and support employees are determining who is eligible and how much holiday pay they should receive. They have 30 days to compile the list, and another 30 days to notify individuals. The district will contact individuals by mail and public notices.
All affected individuals will then have 90 days from the date of the mailing to submit a claim. Payments would be made over a three-year period. The district may include an option for a lump sum payment at a discounted amount.
Heath Merchen, attorney representing the support employees union, said he was pleased with the results of the settlement agreement.
“We resolved it with the best interest of the school and the employees,” Merchen said.
Cobb said any changes to the disputed contract language would need to be approved by the district and the labor unions. District officials are in the process of negotiating with both the teachers and support employees.
The contract language concerning holiday pay reads:
“Paid Holidays for all employees in the bargaining unit excluding, part-time Hourly employees, Temporary employees, Child Nutrition employees and Bus Drivers shall be: Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, if such holiday fall within the individual employee’s contract year.”