King City Joint Union High School District (PERB Dec. No. 1777Ea) (Issued 2/16/07)
Another interesting situation. In King City Joint Union High School District (PERB Decision No. 1777), the Board held that the district improperly calculated a negotiated salary formula and ordered make-whole relief. During the enforcement stage, the parties discovered that make-whole relief would cost the district $5.2 million out of a $17-$18 million dollar budget. According to the parties, the effect of forcing the district to pay the $5.2 million at once would mean bankruptcy for the district – an option that neither party wanted.
Based on the dire financial consequences of the ordered relief, the parties jointly submitted a request for reconsideration of the Board’s decision. The parties requested that the Board modify its order as to the amount to be paid employees and to allow installment payments. Finding that the financial consequences of the Board’s order constituted ‘new evidence,’ the Board granted the motion for reconsideration under regulation 32410(a).
Analysis: The Board has generally strictly interpreted regulation 32410(a) which governs requests for reconsideration. Interpreting that regulation strictly, it is not at all clear how the high cost of complying with the Board’s order constitutes “new evidence” within the meaning of 32410(a). Presumably, someone could have done the math before the PERB hearing as well as after. The decision is best explained by the fact that the Board wanted to help the parties given that this was a joint request and the consequences of not acting would be severe. But query, what if all the facts were the same except that it was not a joint request, but a request solely by the district . . . would the decision have been the same?