The Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled severance pay for terminated school district employees must be addressed in contract talks.
In 2012 officials with the Fort Dodge School Community School District proposed eliminating mandatory severance pay as a budget cutting move. Previous union contracts had included specific guidelines for severance pay to terminated employees in the district. The local unions representing teachers, bus drivers and other school employees in Fort Dodge objected.
The school district asked the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board to rule on the case. The state board said severance pay is a mandatory subject during negotiations with the unions.
The school then took their case to the courts. The Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled against the Fort Dodge District. It means severance pay provisions — even the elimination of severance pay — must be negotiated during contract talks in Iowa school districts.
The Court of Appeals cited a law passed by the legislature in 2010 which gives the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board “express authority” to decide the matter.