CUSD ordered to disband faculty senate following state ruling


June 25, 2024 — In a landmark decision, the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) has mandated Clovis Unified School District to disband its long-standing Faculty Senate, marking a pivotal moment in the district’s labor relations landscape.

The Faculty Senate, which has served as an informal representation for teachers, faced scrutiny after allegations of district-sponsored preferential treatment and financial backing surfaced. This decision follows years of legal battles initiated by the Association of Clovis Educators (ACE), aiming to secure teachers’ rights to unionize without undue influence.

“We are pleased with PERB’s ruling,” stated ACE spokesperson Kristin Heimerdinger in a press release. “Today’s decision empowers educators to choose their own representation freely, a fundamental right that has been upheld.”

The ruling comes after a series of findings that Clovis Unified violated state laws by maintaining extensive support for the Faculty Senate, including financial aid totaling over $610,000 between 2020 and 2022. The PERB highlighted these infractions, emphasizing the district’s role in sustaining what some critics dubbed an “employer-dominated organization.”

Despite the ruling, the district remains undecided on its next steps. Barry Jager, Clovis Unified’s associate superintendent of human resources, assured employees in a statement that the administration is reviewing the implications of the ruling before determining whether to appeal.

Critics argue that the Faculty Senate’s dissolution could pave the way for the ACE to become the predominant voice for Clovis educators. However, the PERB clarified that its decision does not inherently favor ACE over other potential groups, aiming instead to level the playing field for all aspiring organizations.

The disbandment order requires Clovis Unified Superintendent Corrine Folmer to formally announce the severance of ties with the Faculty Senate, underscoring the district’s commitment to complying with PERB’s directives.

As the community awaits further developments, the future of labor representation in Clovis Unified hangs in the balance, poised for potential shifts that could redefine teacher advocacy in the district for years to come.