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Arbitrator Rules Broward School District Can Require Teachers To Return To Their Classrooms

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) - An arbitrator has sided with Broward County Public Schools in a fight with the teachers union over returning teachers to classrooms.

Arbitrator Roger Abrams ruled that the school district may require teachers to return to their classrooms to meet the operational needs of schools.

"The men and women of the Broward School District – both teachers and administrators – are an impressive group… and if the parties act in good faith – as partners in this important project – they will get through this period of time and secure the best interests of the students, the teachers and the people of Broward," according to the ruling.

Broward schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said the decision is a win for the students.

"We recognize the health concerns of our teachers and will continue to balance their needs with the needs of students who are struggling and must be back in a safe and healthy school for face-to-face learning," he said.

The district has currently granted remote work assignments to more than 600 teachers and staff with medical concerns.

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Adam's ruling also means that the district must provide documents to the Broward Teachers Union about decisions on returning to the classroom.

"The arbitrator ordered Runcie to supply information to BTU 'in a timely fashion' to show that principals' decisions were not made in an arbitrary or capricious manner," said BTU President Anna Fusco in a statement. "We have been asking Runcie to give us information for months. He stonewalled and prevented BTU from finding out how principals reached their decisions. Now there is a binding decision that Runcie must follow. Runcie will finally be brought to account."

The union said over the next 30 days, they will find out if the decisions to deny remote assignments were done with "fidelity."

"Once we get this information, we will uncover the truth—school by school," according to the statement.

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