The NBTF is receiving a lot of questions concerning the status of seconded teachers returning to school. In an effort to bring some clarity to the situation, the NBTF is offering the following information:
While the Collective Agreement does not contain the word “secondment” such a leave is considered to be a leave of absence with pay and falls under the provisions of Article 35.02 of the Collective Agreement:
ARTICLE 35 — LEAVES OF ABSENCE
35.02 A teacher may be granted, at the discretion of the Superintendent or his/her designate, a leave of absence with or without pay for reasons of professional improvement, curriculum development or any other reason(s) deemed valid by the Superintendent or his/her designate, upon such mutually acceptable terms as prearranged by the teacher with the Superintendent or his/her designate. Such leave shall not be unreasonably withheld. However whether such leave, when granted is to be with or without pay shall remain at the sole discretion of the Superintendent or his/her designate. All leaves of absence granted under Clause 35.02 shall be confirmed by the Superintendent or his/her designate in writing stating clearly the mutually acceptable terms as pre-arranged by the teacher with the Superintendent or his/her designate.
The article clearly indicates that these types of arrangements are made between the Superintendent or his/her designate and the teacher involved, and that all leaves granted under this clause of the Collective Agreement should be confirmed in writing outlining the mutually accepted terms as pre arranged by the school teacher and the Superintendent.
For example, these letters should outline the employment arrangements (i.e. school, grade level, teaching assignment, etc), reached by the parties for when the teachersʼ leaves (secondments) come to an end or are cut short.
However, in the event a teacher does not have a letter from the school district about her/his return, then the NBTF would suggest that she/he would need to work with the school district regarding their school placement and teaching assignment for the following school year. While the NBTF would work with the teacher and the district to try and come to a resolution/compromise, it is more difficult if no arrangements have been made prior to accepting the leave. Furthermore, given the current fiscal situation, school districts may have little or no flexibility when it comes to staffing.This means that the teacher would have no input on placement or/and assignment for next year.
Should a teacher not be satisfied with the placement, he/she could request a transfer by mutual consent under Article 45 during the next school year. Such a request would nonetheless be subject to the mutual consent of the parties, therefore, there is no guarantee such a transfer would take place. Assignments on the other hand are determined by the principal at the school level and these can change from one year to another.
Teachers who have specific questions concerning their secondment arrangements should not hesitate to call a member of the NBTF administrative staff for guidance or information.