Staff Complaints and Grievances Procedure for Employees

Staff Complaints and Grievances Procedure for Adjusting Grievances for School Board Employees in Accordance with 22.1-293 and 22.1-306

Staff Complaints and Grievances Procedure for Adjusting Grievances for School Board Employees in Accordance with VA Code, 22.1-293 and 22.1-306

PREAMBLE

The Board of Education adopts the following Procedure for Adjusting Grievances to provide, in accordance with the Standards of Quality for school divisions and the statutory mandate of Chapters 13.1 and 15, Article 3, Title 22.1, of the Code of Virginia, an orderly procedure for resolving disputes concerning application of local School Board policies, rules and regulations as they affect the work of employees and disciplinary actions which include dismissal or probation.


PART I

Definitions

The following words and terms, when used in these regulations, shall have the following meaning unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Days" means calendar days unless a different meaning is clearly expressed in this procedure.  Whenever any period of time fixed by this procedure shall expire on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, the period of time for taking action under this procedure shall be extended to the next day if it is not a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday.

"Dismissal" means the dismissal of any teacher within the term of such teacher's contract and non-renewal of the contract of a teacher on continuing contract.

For the purpose of Part II, "grievance" means a complaint or a dispute by a teacher relating to his/her employment, including but not necessarily limited to disciplinary actions other than dismissal or placing on probation:  the application or interpretation of personnel policies, procedures, rules and regulations, ordinances and statutes; acts of reprisal against a teacher for filing or processing a grievance, participating as a witness in any step, meeting or hearing relating to a grievance; and complaints of discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, political affiliation, disability, age, national origin or sex.  For the purpose of Part III, "grievance" means a complaint or a dispute by a teacher relating to his employment involving dismissal or placing on probation.  The term "grievance" shall not include a complaint or dispute by a teacher relating to establishment and revision of wages or salaries, position classifications or general benefits; suspension of a teacher or non renewal of the contract of a teacher who has not achieved continuing contract status; the establishment or contents of ordinances, statues or personnel policies, procedures, rules and regulations; failure to promote; discharge, layoff or suspension from duties because of decrease in enrollment or abolition of a particular subject, or insufficient funding; hiring, transfer assignment and retention of teachers within the school division; suspension from duties in emergencies; or methods, means and personnel by which school division operations are to be carried on.  While these management rights are reserved to the School Board, failure to apply, where applicable, these rules, regulations, policies, or procedures as written or established by the Board is grievable.

For the purpose of Part III, "personnel file" means any and all memoranda, entries or other documents included in the teacher's file as maintained in the central office or in any file on the teacher maintained within a school in which the teacher serves.

"Probation" means a period not to exceed one year during which time it shall be the duty of the teacher to remedy deficiencies, which gave rise to probationary status.

For the purpose of Part II, "teacher" means all employees of the school division involved in classroom instruction and all other full-time employees of the school division except employees classified as supervising employees.  For the purpose of Part III, "teacher" means all regularly certified/licensed professional public school personnel employed under a written contract as provided by Section 22.1-302 of the Code of Virginia by any school division as a teacher or supervisor of classroom teachers, but excluding all Superintendents.

"Shall file," "shall respond in writing" or "shall serve written notice" means the document is either delivered personally to the grievant office of the proper School Board representative or is mailed by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, and postmarked within time limits prescribed by this procedure.

"Supervisory employee" means any person having authority in the interest of the School Board (i) to hire, transfer, suspend, layoff, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward or discipline other employees; or (ii) to direct other employees; or (iii) to adjust the grievance of other employees; or (iv) to recommend any action set forth in (i), (ii), or (iii) above, provided that the authority to act as set forth in (i), (ii), (iii) or (iv) requires the exercise of independent judgment and is not merely routine and clerical in nature.

"Written grievance appeal" means a written or typed statement describing the event or action complained of or date of the event or action and a concise description of policies, procedures, regulations, ordinances or statutes upon which the teacher bases his/her claim.  The grievant shall specify what he/she seeks through use of the grievance procedure.  A Statement shall be written upon forms prescribed by the Board of Education and supplied by the School Board.


PART II

Grievance Procedure

Section 2.1 Purpose of Part II of the Grievance Procedure

The purpose of Part II of the Procedure for Adjusting Grievances is to provide an orderly procedure for resolving disputes concerning the application, interpretation or violation of any provision of School Board policies, procedures, rules and regulations as they affect the work of teachers, other than dismissal or probation.  An equitable solution of grievances should be secured at the most immediate administration level.  The procedure should not be construed as limiting the right of any teacher to discuss any matter of concern with any member of the school administration.  Nor should the procedure be construed to restrict any teacher's right to provide review of complaints that are not included within the definition of grievance.  Nothing in this procedure shall be interpreted to limit the School Board's exclusive final authority over management and operation of the school division.

Section 2.2 Grievance Procedure

Recognizing that grievances should be begun and settled promptly, a grievance must be initiated within 15 working days following either the event giving rise to the grievance or within 15 working days following the time when the employee knew or reasonably should have known of its occurrence.  Grievances shall be processed as follows:

A. Step 1 - Informal.  The first step shall be an informal conference between the teacher and his/her immediate supervisor, which may be the principal.  The teacher shall state the nature of the grievance, and the immediate supervisor shall attempt to adjust the grievance.  It is mandatory that the teacher present the grievance informally prior to proceeding to Step 2.

B. Step 2 - Principal.  If for any reason the grievance is not resolved informally in Step 1 to the satisfaction of the teacher, he/she must perfect his grievance by filing said grievance in writing within 15 working days following the event giving rise to the grievance, or within 15 working days following the time when the employee knew or reasonably should have known of its occurrence, specifying on the form specific relief sought.  Regardless of the outcome of Step 1, if a written grievance is not filed without just cause within specified time, the grievance will be barred.

A meeting shall be held between the principal and/or his/her designee and the teacher and/or his/her designee within five working days of receipt by the principal of the written grievance.  During such meeting, the teacher and/or other party involved shall be entitled to present appropriate witnesses and be represented by legal counsel and another representative.  The principal and/or his/her designee shall respond in writing within five working days following the meeting.

The principal may forward to the teacher within five days from receipt of the written grievance a written request for more specific information regarding the grievance.  The teacher shall file an answer thereto within 10 working days, and the meeting must then be held within five days thereafter.

C. Step 3 - Superintendent.  If the grievance is not settled to the teacher's satisfaction in Step 2, the teacher can proceed to Step 3 by filing a written notice of appeal with the Superintendent, accompanied by the original grievance appeal from within five working days after receipt of the Step 2 answer or due date of such answer.  A meeting shall then be held between the Superintendent and/or his/her designee and teacher at a mutually agreeable time within five working days.  During such meeting, both the Superintendent and the teacher shall be entitled to present appropriate witnesses and be represented by legal counsel and another representative.  A representative may examine, cross-examine, question and present evidence on behalf of the grievant or the Superintendent without violating provisions of Section 54-44 of the Code of Virginia.  If no settlement can be reached in said meeting, the Superintendent or his/her designee may make a written request for more specific information from the teacher, but only if such was not requested in Step 2.  Such request shall be answered within 10 working days, and the meeting shall be held within five working days of the date on which the answer was received.  

D. Step 4 - Decision by the School Board.

1. If a teacher elects to proceed directly to a determination before School Board as provided in Step 5, he/she must notify the Superintendent in writing of his/her intention to appeal directly to the Board, of the grievance alleged and relief sought within five working days after receipt of the answer as required in Step 3 or due date thereof.  


2. The School Board shall retain its exclusive final authority over matters concerning employment and supervision of personnel.

Section 2.3 Grievability

A. Initial Determination of Grievability.  Decisions regarding whether a matter is grievable shall be made by the School Board at the request of the Superintendent or grievant.  The School Board shall reach its decision only after allowing the Superintendent and grievant the opportunity to present written or oral arguments regarding grievability.  The decision as to whether arguments shall be written or oral shall be at the School Board's discretion.  Decisions shall be made within 10 days of such request.  Such determination of grievability shall be made subsequent to reduction of the grievance to writing, but prior to any panel or School Board hearing or the right to such determination within a prescribed 10 day period and shall entitle the grievant to advance to the next step as if the matter were grievable.

B. Appeal of Determination on Grievability.

1. Decision of the School Board may be appealed to the circuit court having jurisdiction in the school division for a hearing on the issue of grievability.

a. Proceedings for a review of the decision of the School Board shall be instituted by filing a notice of appeal with the Board within 10 days after the date of the decision and giving a copy thereof to all other parties.

b. Within 10 days thereafter, the School Board shall transmit to the clerk of the court to which the appeal is taken a copy of its decision, a copy of the notice of appeal and exhibits.  Failure of the School Board to transmit the record within the time allowed shall not prejudice rights of the grievant.  The court, on motion of the grievant, may issue a writ of certiorari before a certain date.

c. Within 10 days of receipt by the clerk of such record, the court, sitting without jury, shall hear the appeal on the record transmitted by the School Board and such additional evidence as may be necessary to resolve any controversy as to correctness of the record.  The court, in discretion, may receive such other evidence as ends of justice require.

d. The court may affirm the decision of the School Board or may reverse or modify the decision.  The decision of the court shall be rendered no later than the fifteenth day from the date of conclusion of the court hearing.

Section 2.4 Time Limitations

The right of any party to proceed at any step of this Part II grievance procedure shall be conditioned upon compliance with time limitations and other requirements set forth in this procedure.

A. Failure of the teacher to comply with all substantial procedural requirements, including initiation of the grievance and notice of appeal to the next step in the procedure, shall eliminate his right to any further proceedings on the grievance unless just cause for failure cannot be shown.

B. Failure of the School Board or any supervisory employee to comply with all substantial procedural requirements without just cause shall entitle the grievant, at his/her option, to advance to the next step in the procedure or, at the final step, to a decision in his/her favor.

C. Determination as to whether substantial procedural requirements of Part II of the Procedure for Adjusting Grievances have been complied with shall be made by the School Board.  In any case in which there is a factual dispute as to whether procedural requirements have been met or just cause has been shown for failure to comply, the School Board shall have the option of allowing the grievant to proceed in such case shall not prevent any party from raising such failure to observe substantial procedural requirements as an affirmative defense during any further hearing involving the grievance.

Section 2.5 Separability

If any portion of Part II of the Procedure for Adjusting Grievances, or application thereof, shall be held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this procedure and application thereof in all other circumstances where not expressly held invalid shall not be affected thereby.


PART III

Procedure for Dismissals or Placing on Probation

Part III of the Procedure for Adjusting Grievances adopted by the Board of Education in accordance with the statutory mandate of Article II, Chapter 11, Title 22.1 of the Code of Virginia and Standards of Quality for School Divisions, Chapter 667 of the Acts of Assembly, 1980, is to provide an orderly procedure for expeditious resolution of disputes involving dismissal of or placing on probation any teacher.

Section 3.1 Procedures for Dismissals or Placing on Probation

A. Notice to teacher of recommendation for dismissal or placing on probation.

1. In the event the Superintendent determines to recommend dismissal of any teacher or placing on probation any teacher on continuing contract, written notice shall be sent to the teacher on forms to be prescribed by the Board of Education notifying him/her of the proposed dismissal or placing on probation and informing the teacher that within 15 days after receiving the notice, the teacher may request a hearing before the School Board.

2. During such 15 day period and thereafter until a hearing is held in accordance with provisions herein, if one is requested by the teacher, merits of the Superintendent's recommendation shall not be considered, discussed or acted upon by the School Board except as provided for herein.

3. At the request of the teacher, the Superintendent shall provide reasons for his/her recommendation in writing or, if the teacher prefers, in a personal interview.  In the event the teacher requests a hearing pursuant to Section 22.1-311 or Section 22.1- 312, the Superintendent shall provide, within 10 days of the request, the teacher or his/her representative with the opportunity to inspect and copy his personnel file and all other documents to be offered in rebuttal to the decision to recommend dismissal or probation.  The Superintendent and the teacher or his/her representative shall be under a continuing duty to disclose and produce any additional documents identified later which may be used in the respective parties' cases-in-chief.  The cost of copying such documents shall be paid by the requesting party.


C. Hearing by School Board

1. After receipt of the notice of pending dismissal or placing on probation from the Superintendent as prescribed in Section 3.1, Subsection A.1, the teacher may request a hearing before the School Board by delivering written notice to the Superintendent within 15 days from receipt of notice from him/her.  

2. The School Board hearing shall be set and conducted within 30 days of receipt of the teacher's notice or Board's giving notice.  The teacher shall be given at least 15 days written notice of the date, place and time of the hearing and such notice shall also be provided to the Superintendent.

3. The teacher and the Superintendent may be represented by legal counsel and another representative.  The hearing before the School Board shall be private, unless the teacher requests a public hearing.  Such rules shall include opportunity for the teacher and Superintendent to make opening statements and to present all material or relevant evidence, including testimony of witnesses and the right of all parties to cross-examine witnesses.  Witnesses may be questioned by the School Board.

4. A record or recordings of the proceedings shall be made and preserved for a period of six months.  If either the teacher or School Board requests that a transcript of the record or recording be made at any time prior to expiration of the six-month period, it shall be made and copies shall be furnished to both parties.  The School Board shall bear the expense of the recording and transcription.

5. The School Board shall give the teacher its written decision within 30 days after completion of its hearing.

6. The decision by the School Board shall be based on any evidence relevant to issues of the original grievance produced during the Board hearing in the presence of each party.

The School Board's attorney, assistants or representative, if he/she or they represented a participant in prior proceedings, the grievant, grievant's attorney or representative and, notwithstanding provisions of Section 22.1-69, Superintendent shall be excluded from any executive session of the Board which has as its purpose reaching a decision on the grievance.  However, immediately after a decision has been made and publicly announced, as in favor of or not in favor of the grievant, the School Board's attorney or representative and Superintendent may join the Board in executive session to assist in writing the decision.


Section 3.2 Time Limitations

The right of any party to proceed at any step of the grievance procedure shall be conditioned upon compliance with time limitations and other requirements set forth in this grievance procedure.

A. Failure of the grievant to comply with all substantial Procedural requirements shall terminate the teacher's right to any further proceedings on the grievance unless just cause for such failure can be shown.

B. Failure of the School Board or of any supervisory employee to comply with all substantial procedural requirements without just cause shall entitle the grievant, at his/her option, to advance to the next step in the procedure or, at the final step, to decision in his/her favor.

C. Determination as to whether substantial procedural requirements of Part III of the Procedure for Adjusting Grievances have been complied with shall be made by the School Board.  In any case in which there is a factual dispute as to whether procedural requirements have been met or just cause has been shown or failure to comply, the School Board shall have the option of allowing the grievance to proceed to the next step.  The fact that the grievance is allowed to proceed in such case shall not prevent any party from raising such failure to observe substantial procedural requirements as an affirmative defense at any further hearing involving the grievance.

Section 3.3 Separability

If any portion of Part III of the Procedure for Adjusting Grievances or application thereof shall be held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this procedure and application thereof in all other circumstances where not expressly held invalid shall not be affected thereby.


Procedure for Adjusting Grievances for Support Staff

Preamble

The School Board adopts the following procedures for adjusting grievances to provide, in accordance with the statutory mandate of 22.1-79(6) of the Code of Virginia, a timely and fair method of resolving disputes arising between the School Board and eligible employees regarding dismissal, suspension, or other disciplinary actions.


PART I

Definitions

The following words and terms, when used in this Procedure, shall have the following meaning:

"Eligible Employee" means an employee who has completed the probationary period established in policy GDG excluding the division Superintendent, employees covered under Article 2 (principals and assistant principals) and Article 3 (teachers) of Chapter 15 of Title 22 of the Code of Virginia.  Substitutes, consultants, individuals receiving remuneration for providing contracted services and part-time employees are not eligible to use this Procedure.

"Days" means calendar days unless a different meaning is clearly expressed in this Procedure.  Whenever any period of time fixed by this Procedure shall expire for taking action under this procedure shall be extended to the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday.

"Dismissal" means the termination of employment of any eligible employee after completion of the probationary period designated in Policy GDG.  Dismissal may be with or without cause.

"Grievance" means for the purpose of Part II, a dispute between an eligible employee and the School Board regarding such employee's suspension or other disciplinary action excluding dismissal and disciplinary probation.  For the purpose of Part III, grievance means a dispute between an eligible employee and the School Board regarding such employee's dismissal or probation.  Grievances must be initiated in writing and describe the event or action complained of, the date of the event or action, a concise description of the basis for the claim and the relief expected on the form provided by the School Board.

"Personnel File" means any and all memoranda, entries, or other documents included in the eligible employee's file as maintained in the central school administration office or in any file on the eligible employee maintained within a school which such employee serves.

"Disciplinary Probation" means a period not to exceed one year during which time it shall be the duty of the covered employee to remedy the conduct that gave rise to the probationary status.

"Shall file," "shall respond in writing" or "shall serve written notice" means the document is either hand delivered to the grievant or office of the proper School Board representative or is mailed by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, and postmarked within the time limits prescribed by this Procedure.  Such notice may be mailed to the last address provided by the grievant to the School Board.  It is the duty of the grievant to notify the School Board in writing of any change of address.

"Work Days" means days actually worked by the party required to take action and does not include days on approved leave.


PART II

Purpose

Part II provides a timely and fair method of resolving disputes concerning suspension and disciplinary action other than probation or dismissal.  An equitable solution should be secured at the lowest level of administration.  This Part shall not be construed as limiting the right of any eligible employee to discuss any matter of concern with any member of the school administration.  Nor should this Part be construed to restrict any employee's right to seek, or the school administration's right to provide, informal review of complaints that are not included in the definition of grievance.  Nothing in this procedure shall be interpreted to limited the School Board's exclusive final authority over the management and operation of the school division, nor confer any property right whatsoever.

Note:  For disputes concerning other issues, see the Board of Education Procedure For Adjusting Grievances, Part II (Policy GBM).  However, there shall be no fact finding hearing for any support staff grievance.

Procedure

Management Steps:

Step 1-Immediate Supervisor.  The first step shall be an informal conference between the eligible employee and his or her immediate supervisor.  The employee shall state the nature of the grievance, and the immediate supervisor shall attempt to adjust the grievance.  This step may not be waived.

Step 2-Principal.  If the grievance is not resolved in Step 1, the grievant may proceed to Step 2.  At this step, the grievant must file a Form A with the Principal within 15 days following the event giving rise to the grievance or within fifteen days following the time when the employee knew or reasonably should have known of its occurrence.  Regardless of the outcome of Step 1, if a written Form A is not filed within the specified time, without just cause, the grievance shall be concluded.  The Form A shall be provided by the School Board.

A meeting shall be held between the principal and the grievant within five workdays of the receipt of the grievance (Form A) by the principal.  The principal shall set the time and place of the meeting.  Both the grievant and the principal have the right to present appropriate witnesses and to be represented by legal counselor or another representative.  The principal shall respond in writing (on the Form A) to the grievant within five days following the meeting.

The principal may forward to the grievant, within five days from the receipt of the written grievance, a written request for more specific information regarding the grievance.  The grievant shall file an answer within 10 days of receipt of the request, and the meeting must be held within five days after the answer is filed or due to be filed, whichever is earlier.

Step 3-Superintendent.  If the grievance is not resolved to the grievant's satisfaction, the grievant may proceed to Step 3 by checking the appropriate box on the Form A and filing it with the Superintendent within five work days after receipt of the Step 2 answer (or the due date of such answer).  A meeting shall be held between the Superintendent and the grievant at a mutually agreeable time within five workdays of the Superintendent's receipt of the grievance.  Failure of the grievant to agree upon a meeting time shall result in the conclusion of the grievance. At such meeting, both the Superintendent and the grievant are entitled to present witnesses and to be represented by legal counsel or another representative.  A representative may examine, cross-examine, question, and present evidence on behalf of the grievant or the Superintendent without violating 54-44 of the Code of Virginia.  If the grievant's representative is an attorney, the grievant must give advance notice to the Superintendent and agree to a meeting date when the School Board attorney can attend.  The Superintendent shall determine the propriety of attendance at the meeting of persons not having a direct interest in the grievance.

The Superintendent shall respond in writing (on the Form A) within five workdays following the meeting.  The Superintendent may request more information from the grievant if such was not requested in Step 2.  The grievant shall respond to such request within 10 days of receipt, and the meeting shall be held within five days of the date on which the answer was received by the Superintendent or due to the Superintendent.  The grievant shall bear his/her own expenses.  The School Board shall bear the granted time to appear at the meeting if the meeting is held during their working hours.

Step 4-School Board.  If the grievance is not resolved to the satisfaction of the grievant, he/she may advance the grievance to the School Board by checking the appropriate box on Form A and filing it with the Superintendent on the due date thereof.  The Superintendent shall forward the grievance record to the School Board within five workdays of receipt of the Form A.  The School Board may, at its option, hold a hearing or may make a decision based on the grievance record and written evidence presented by the grievant and the Superintendent.  The School Board shall provide its written decision to the grievant within 30 days of the hearing or if no hearing is held, within 30 days of receipt of grievance record.

The School Board may affirm, modify or reserve the decision of the administration by a majority vote of a quorum of the School Board.  The decision of the School Board is final.

Part III

Purpose

Part III provides a timely and fair method of resolving disputes regarding dismissal or placing on disciplinary probation.  An equitable solution should be secured at the lowest level of administration.  This Part shall not be construed as limiting the right of any eligible employee to discuss any matter of concern with any member of the school administration.  Nor should this Part be construed to restrict any employee's right to seek, or the school administration's right to provide, informal review of complaints that are not included in the definition of grievance.  Nothing in this procedure shall be interpreted to limit the School Board's exclusive final authority over the management and operation of the school division, nor confer any property right whatsoever.


Notice of Dismissal or Placing on Probation

Notice.  In the event a division Superintendent or designee decides to dismiss or place on probation an eligible employee, written notice shall be given to the employee on a form provided by the School Board notifying the eligible employee of the dismissal or probation and informing the eligible employee that he/she may request a meeting before the Superintendent.

Preliminary Information Gathering.  During the time between notice and the Step 1 meeting, the merits of the dismissal or probationary action shall be considered, discussed or acted upon by the School Board.  At the request of the eligible employee, the Superintendent shall provide the reasons for the dismissal or probation action in writing, or if eligible employee prefers, in a personal interview.  Such request must be made prior to the Step 1 meeting with the Superintendent and responded to within three days of the employee's request.  At the request of the employee, the Superintendent shall provide the employee or his/her representative with the opportunity to inspect and copy his/her personnel file and all other documents relied upon by the Superintendent in reading his/her decision, unless confidential by law.  Within 10 days of the request of the Superintendent, the employee shall provide the Superintendent the opportunity to inspect and copy the documents to be offered in rebuttal to the Superintendent's decision.  The cost of copying shall be paid by the requesting party.

Procedure

Management Steps:

Step 1-Superintendent.  Within 15 days of receiving notice of dismissal or probation, the employee may initiate a grievance submitting Form C to the Superintendent.  A meeting shall be held within five days of the Superintendent's receipt of Form C at a time and place designated by the Superintendent.  Each party may be represented by an attorney or other representative and will have the opportunity to present witness and documents.  The meeting shall be closed to all other persons.  The Superintendent shall provide in written response on the Form C within five workdays of the conclusion of the meeting.  This step may be waived at the option of the employee.

Step 2-School Board.  An eligible employee may initiate a grievance by filing Form C with the Superintendent within 15 workdays from the receipt of notice from the Superintendent or within five days after the conclusion of Step 1.  The Form C shall be provided by the School Board and shall specify each matter to be addressed by the School Board.

The hearing shall be scheduled and conducted within 30 days of receipt of the grievant's Form C.  The grievant shall be given at least 15 days written notice on the date, place and time of the hearing and such notice shall also be provided to the Superintendent.

The grievant and the Superintendent may be represented by legal counsel or another representative.  The hearing before the School Board shall be private, unless the grievant requests a public hearing.  The School Board shall establish the rules for the conduct of hearing.  Such rules shall include the opportunity for the grievant/representative and the Superintendent/representative to make opening and closing statements and to present all material or relevant evidence, including the testimony of witnesses and the right of all parties to cross-examine the witnesses.  Witnesses may also be questioned by the School Board.

A recording of the hearing shall be made and preserved for six months.  If either the grievant or the School Board requests a transcript of the recording prior to the expiration of the six-month period, it shall be made and copies furnished to both parties.  The School Board shall bear the expense of the recording and the transcription.

The School Board shall provide the grievant a written decision within 30 days after the completion of the hearing.  The decision shall be based on the grievance record and the information presented at the hearing, if any.  All non-School Board members shall be excluded from any executive session of the School Board, which has as its purpose reaching a decision on the grievance.  Immediately after a decision is made and publicly announced, the School Board's attorney and the Superintendent may join the School Board in executive session to assist in writing the decision, if their presence is necessary.

The School Board may affirm, modify or reserve the decision of the administration by a majority vote of a quorum of the School Board.  The decision of the School Board is final.

PART IV: General Provisions

Determination of Grievability

Initial Determination - School Board.  Decisions regarding whether a matter is grievable shall be made by the School Board at the request of the Superintendent or grievant.  The School Board shall reach its decision after allowing the Superintendent and the grievant an opportunity to present witnesses or oral arguments shall be made by the School Board.  A decision regarding grievability shall be made within 10 days of such a request.  The determination shall be made after the grievance is reduced to writing and prior to any School Board hearing or the right to such determination is waived.  Failure of the School Board to make a timely determination shall entitle the grievant to advance to the next step of the Procedure as if the matter were grievable.

Final Determination - Circuit Court.  Grievability decisions of the School Board may be appealed to the circuit court having jurisdiction in the school division.  The grievant must file a written notice of appeal with the School Board within ten days after receipt of the School Board's determination and give a copy to all parties.  Within 10 days of receipt of the notice, the School Board shall transmit to the clerk of the court to which the appeal is taken a copy of the notice of the appeal and the grievance record.  The court, on motion of the grievant, may issue a writ of certiorari requiring the School Board to transmit the record.

Within 10 days of receipt by the clerk of the notice of appeal and the record, the court, sitting without a jury, shall hear the appeal on the record and such additional evidence as may be necessary to resolve any controversy as to the correctness of the record or other evidence the court determine is required by the ends of by the ends of justice.  The court's decision shall be rendered not later than 15 days after the conclusion of the hearing, if any or review of the record.  The court may affirm, reverse or modify the decision of the School Board.

Compliance with Procedural Requirements

The right of any party to proceed at any step of this Procedure shall be conditioned upon compliance with the requirements set forth in this Procedure.

The failure of the grievant to comply with all substantial procedural requirements shall forfeit the grievant's right to proceed with the grievance unless just cause for the failure can be shown.  The failure of the School Board or any management step employee to comply with all substantial procedural requirements without just cause shall entitle the grievant to the next step or at the final step to a decision in the grievant's favor.

The determination as to whether the substantial procedural requirements of this Procedure have been followed shall be made by the School Board.  In any case in which there is a factual dispute as to whether the procedural requirements have been met or just cause has been shown, the School Board shall have the option of allowing the grievant to proceed to the next step.  The fact that the grievance is allowed to proceed in such case shall not prevent any party from raising such failure to observe the substantial procedural requirements at any further step in this Procedure.

Separability

If any portion of this Part B of the Procedure, or the application thereof, is held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this procedure and the application thereof in all other circumstances where not expressly held invalid shall not be affected.