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Arbitrator Rules SCUSD Violated Testing MOU

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Finds the School Board “was well aware of the testing MOU”

In a decision issued today (January 11, 2021), an arbitrator ruled that SCUSD violated the Testing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) negotiated between the parties in November 2016. As the arbitrator found, “the testing MOU was signed by then-Superintendent Banda with board awareness.” [Emphasis added.]

Under the terms of the agreement, teachers can provide significant input to ensure that student assessment “are meaningful and useful.”

In September 2019, SCUSD Superintendent Jorge Aguilar unilaterally repudiated the agreement. The arbitrator’s decision reverses his action.

In her decision, which can be read in full here, the arbitrator determined among other things that “It is clear that Superintendent Aguilar felt constrained by the Testing MOU that was signed by his predecessor,” but that the SCUSD arguments to justify his actions were “specious,” “unavailing,” “unpersuasive,” and “untenable.”

Moreover, “Superintendent Aguilar’s statements that the Association ‘consistently refused to meet with the District’ is inaccurate. . . . The District cannot unilaterally repudiate an agreement entered into on its behalf by the superintendent. There is no showing that the Association failed to live up to its side of the bargain.”

Finally, the arbitrator rejected out of hand the District’s argument that the Testing MOU “violates the equal protection clause of the California Constitution. . . . To the contrary, the MOU allows administration of state and federally mandated assessments in accordance with applicable regulations.”

The District was represented in the proceeding by it outside law firm, Lozano Smith.

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