Vacancies? Voluntary transfers? Involuntary transfers? Displacements? What is the difference?
A vacancy is an open position created by a resignation, retirement, termination, transfer, or the addition of a new position.
A voluntary transfer is when a bargaining unit member changes from one position to another at the request of the member.
An involuntary transfer is when a bargaining unit member changes from one position to another at the direction of the district rather than at the request of the bargaining unit member. Generally an involuntary transfer is the result of positions, sections, or programs being eliminated or reduced. This includes reassignments, such as from one grade level to another. within a building (not requested by the bargaining unit member) and between buildings. It does not include reassignments within a department at the secondary level.
A displacement is a specific kind of involuntary transfer that occurs when a member’s position has been eliminated or reduced and there is a need to place them in a different position.
Can I switch to that opening rather than go on the involuntary transfer list?
Maybe! Our contract states that reassignments within a school building may occur prior to posting a vacancy. Further, it states that at every building, each bargaining unit member to be involuntarily transferred, will be given the option of choosing an opening in their own building (if one is available) or of being placed on the district-wide “involuntary transfer list.” So, if an opening exists in your building that you’re qualified for, you could choose that rather than going on the involuntary transfer list.
Does the least senior person automatically go on the involuntary transfer list when reductions are made?
Not necessarily. Impacted bargaining unit members will be notified of the need for involuntary transfer (e.g. a reduction of a grade-level section at an elementary school) and offered the opportunity to accept the transfer. If more people are willing to accept the transfer than needed, the most senior individual willing to accept the transfer will be placed on the involuntary transfer list.
If an insufficient number of bargaining unit members are willing to accept the necessary transfers, then the least senior individual(s) will be involuntarily transferred.
I was placed on the involuntary transfer list. What happens now?
Once an individual is placed on the involuntary transfer list (either by accepting the involuntary transfer or being placed there due to seniority) they will be given the opportunity to select a position for which they are qualified. The district compiles a list of all open positions and bargaining unit members on the involuntary transfer list are contacted in order of seniority, starting with the most senior. Bargaining unit members may select any position on the list without the need for an interview. Once all involuntarily transferred bargaining unit members have selected positions, any remaining open positions become available for voluntary transfers and posting for new hires.
I’m the least senior person on the involuntary transfer list. What happens if there isn’t a job I want on the list?
While the hope is all impacted bargaining unit members will be able to select a position they desire, the objective with the involuntary transfer process is to place bargaining unit members in positions for which they are qualified. Once a bargaining unit member has selected a position from the list, they could at any time apply for a voluntary transfer to another vacancy they prefer that might become open over the summer or during the following school year.
We had a section cut or reductions made due to a drop in enrollment. Who gets bumped?
When a position is eliminated or reduced, the administration will look at all bargaining unit members in that grade level, department or program in the building. Affected bargaining unit members will be notified of the need for a transfer and offered the opportunity to accept the involuntary transfer. If there are not enough willing to accept the transfer, the least senior bargaining unit member will be involuntarily transferred.
So, is it the person who has been in that building the shortest amount of time? The person who has taught at that grade level or in that department the shortest amount of time? What does “least senior” mean?
We only operate with one definition of seniority, and it has nothing to do with buildings, grade levels or departments. Only someone’s district seniority is considered. Our contract states “seniority” for purposes of transfers means the total years of continuous service to the district in a position requiring teacher certification. And each year, the district publishes a seniority list. When this is distributed, it’s important that bargaining unit members review it for accuracy.
When involuntary transfers are necessary, the application of seniority is based on the district seniority of those in the impacted grade level or department. For example, if the need arises to reduce one third grade teacher from a building and no volunteers are available, then the third grade teacher having the least district seniority shall be involuntarily transferred.
I have the most seniority in my building, at my grade level. Does this mean I’m the most senior?
Maybe. Seniority means the total years of continuous service to the district in a position that requires teacher certification. “Building seniority”, “grade level seniority”, or “subject/department seniority” are not contractual. The only way to tell who is the most senior would be to look at total continuous years in Unit 5 in a qualifying position.
What if two of us are tied when it comes to seniority?
Our contract outlines the seniority tie-breaker process. If seniority is equal between two (2) or more bargaining unit members, then total bargaining unit service in the district, whether or not continuous, shall be determinative. If the years of total bargaining unit service in the district are equal, then total public school teaching or professional educator service outside of the district shall be determinative. And, finally, if total public school teaching or professional educator service outside of the district is equal, the decision of the superintendent and the Association president shall be determinative.
There is an opening in my building that I want. Can I apply for it? What is the process?
Absolutely. If the notice of the vacancy was emailed by your administrator, you should follow the instructions in that email. It may only require a confirmation email in return or it may ask that you fill out the online application. Any bargaining unit member that requests a transfer within 7 days of it being posted will be granted an interview.
There is an opening in another building that I want. Can I apply for it? What is the process?
Absolutely. When an email with a vacancy you desire opens, it may ask that you fill out the online application. Any bargaining unit member that requests a transfer within 7 days of it being posted will be granted an interview.
I’m unhappy in my building and want to go to another one but there are no openings right now, or none that I am currently interested in. Is there anything I can do now?
Sure. You can always monitor the Unit 5 employment page to see additional openings when they are posted.
If you would like to be notified of any relevant openings over the summer, you can notify the Superintendent of your transfer request in writing (email is sufficient). You can indicate if there are certain buildings or positions you are interested in or if you are interested in any position you are qualified for. Doing so would place you on the Transfer Request List so the district is aware of your interest in transferring out of your current position. Placing yourself on that list does not impact your current position or assignment, and it does not obligate you to take a position if one becomes available. If you are notified of an opening, you would need to apply within seven calendar days of receiving the notice.
I have received Excellent ratings on my evaluation, why am I being transferred?
Seniority, rather than summative evaluation ratings, is the deciding factor when it comes to involuntary transfers. However, for purposes of a Reduction in Force, those RIF groupings are based on a combination of evaluation rating and seniority.
The district told me my program is being moved to another building. What rights do I have?
When an entire program is moved to another building and there are no staffing changes, all bargaining unit members within that program will be transferred.
When a program is being split between buildings and there are no staffing changes, bargaining unit members can agree to move. If there is no agreement, seniority will determine who will be transferred.
My section is being reduced. Now, I have to move all my things to a new building. Can I get paid to do this?
Maybe. If you are notified of a transfer during the school year, you can use plan and flex time to pack up and organize your materials. Generally, those materials are then moved by the summer maintenance crew to the new building (you should coordinate this with your administrator). If you believe you will need additional time to pack up and organize your materials to prepare for the move, you should request more time from your administrator. And, if the notification of a transfer occurs during the summer, compensation should be provided since it is outside the contract year. Your administrator should be able to work on this with you, but please reach out to UFEA if you have questions about your situation.
Am I guaranteed an interview if I apply for a job in the district?
Yes, if you apply in time. UFEA has bargained with the district a guaranteed interview for any bargaining unit member applying for a job in the district within seven days of it being posted.
How many days is a job posting required to be open?
Contractually, the vacancy will not be filled until seven calendar days have elapsed since posting. However, there are circumstances in which the postings may be open longer than 7 days and in the case of emergency, the district can ask the UFEA President to agree to a shorter posting timeline.