By Ira W. Mintz, Esq.
Pascack Valley Regional Board of Education and Pascack Valley Regional Education Association
All increment withholdings of teaching staff members may be submitted to binding arbitration except those based predominately on the evaluation of teaching performance. N.J.S.A. 34:13A-26 et seq. If the reasons for a withholding is related predominately to the evaulation of teaching performance, any appeal shall be filed with the Commissioner of Education. If there is a dispute over the reason for a withholding, the school board may file a scope of negotiations petition with PERC. In P.E.R.C. No. 2015-45, in addition to withholding the employment and adjustment increments that a board may withhold pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:29-14, the board withheld the teacher’s longevity increment and education based guide movement. The Commission ruled that longevity payments are construed by the Commissioner of Education to constitute employment increments, but that the withholding of an economic benefit for academic achievement is not an authorized increment withholding under N.J.S.A. 18A:29-14. Thus, the grievance challenging that withholding could proceed to binding arbitration.