Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


School board to hear Brown's grievance


Haines Borough school board will hear a grievance from veteran teacher Patty Brown 7 p.m. Monday at the Haines School.

Brown, who has worked 17 years at the school, wants to know why her name was not forwarded to a committee last spring that was to consider candidates for a middle school job teaching science, math and social studies.

She said she was qualified for the job and applied in time.

Brown said she first applied for the position under a section of the teachers’ negotiated agreement that would have allowed the district to transfer her to the open position. The contract also requires the district to provide reasons for not making such a transfer, she said.

“The reason they gave was, ‘You can’t be the science teacher because we’re giving you another position,’” Brown said this week. That explanation is part of her complaint, she said.

Brown said she then applied under the advertised opening, but her application wasn’t allowed to be reviewed by the hiring committee, she said, and was removed before screening.

“My issue is with the process,” Brown said.

Brown said she has taught middle school for nine years, including science, Spanish, math, physical education and natural history. Last year she taught middle school math and health.

The position she applied for this year was previously held by Tennie Bentz, who left the district last year. Instead, Brown said she was at first assigned to an “intervention” position in the school, but later was made a fourth-grade teacher.

Brown said she isn’t seeking the middle school job this year. “It wouldn’t be good to switch teachers at this stage. It would be too disruptive. I want some form of resolution to it, some form of equity. I want a more clear and equitable process.”

She said she understood the school district’s attorney would be at the hearing, which she questioned. “I don’t know why. I’m not suing the district or anything.”

Brown said she expects to be represented telephonically by Willie Anderson, a teachers’ union representative from Juneau. She said she may seek for the hearing to be open to the public. “People have been supportive.”

In response to e-mailed questions, school superintendent Michael Byer acknowledged the hearing would be held Monday, and said only that the results of the hearing could be made public only with Brown’s permission.