Pre K Class Action Grievance Update

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We’ve received word that the Early Learning Office has committed pay back unpaid wages for attending district training in order to resolve the JCPK Class Action Grievance! JCPK has been offered a settlement over the grievance we filed regarding Dawn Odean’s decision to offer unpaid “optional” trainings during the 2021/2022 school year.

JCPK members and supporters began this fight by signing a petition early last year which moved us to file a grievance over this contract violation and illegal practice in April 2022.  If you missed what happened over the summer, here’s a recap of the step two grievance meeting:

  • JCPK’s lead grievants presented evidence to the hearing officer to prove that by refusing to pay preschool employees for their time spent on trainings, the district was in violation of Article 15-4 of the JESPA CBA and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

  • One of the key components during 2021 negotiations with Dawn was over paid trainings, you can read Article 15 in the JESPA Collective Bargaining Agreement here.

  • Dawn Odean asserted that “optional” district trainings are not required, ignoring  evidence that clock hours are required under Colorado’s Licensing Requirements.

  • Craig Blake, the district’s attorney, brought multiple new excuses to the table including a lack of sub coverage and lack of ELO funds as to why Jeffco fails to pay employees for the time they spend ensuring their licensing requirements are met and their students are receiving a high-quality education.  He threatened to take all trainings for Jeffco ESPs away!

  • Soon after, the hearing officer, Noel Harryman, Director of Site Maintenance, informed JCPK that he had sided with the district and denied the grievance. Noel continues the district’s practice of step two denials that continue on to Arbitration where JESPA ultimately wins!  

    • This process of prolonging the grievance process only to lose in Arbitration is costing the district hundreds of thousands of dollars that could be used to fund adequate classroom budgets! (Ron Patterson’s hearing officer also denied his step two hearing.  JESPA went on to win his case at the EEOC, a federal enforcement agency that deals with discrimination in the workplace, it ended up costing the district over $200,000!

Though JCPK had lost the step two grievance, we were fully prepared to move on to arbitration.  As we awaited scheduling arbitration, we were approached by the district with a settlement offer.

The district’s settlement offer includes:

  • The ELO will issue back pay to all ESP employees who attended any “optional” unpaid trainings during the 2021/2022 school year!
  • Moving forward, the ELO will pay ESP employees for any trainings held outside of our normal work hours (even if they are deemed “optional”) AND

This is a HUGE WIN for JCPK!

In order to settle, we need to know which 2021/2022 trainings you attended to ensure your back pay is issued correctly.  Please refer to your email to find the link to report your training.

Congratulations to all those involved in this fight!! Well done for joining JCPK, standing together, signing the petition, and raising our voices as one in opposition of this illegal practice. Our collective action worked.

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