A law that went into effect on Aug. 3 removes the managerial authority of school principals in the promotion and discipline of custodial, maintenance, cafeteria and other non-teaching school employees.

The new law retains the principal’s hiring authority for these employees, but requires that promotions and disciplinary decisions be made in accordance with collective bargaining agreements.

In this respect, the law makes a significant change to procedure established under the Education Reform Act of 1993, which gave principals the authority to hire, promote and discipline employees in order to further two of the act’s main objectives: improving school performance and accountability.

Under the revised parameters, municipal school districts will need to align promotional and disciplinary decisions for non-teaching employees – including terminations – with any governing collective bargaining agreements.

The Legislature overrode a veto by Gov. Charlie Baker to enact the law, Chapter 160 of the Acts of 2018.

The MMA opposed the legislation for the same reasons that Gov. Baker returned the bill to the Legislature unsigned. The MMA and the governor sought to ensure that authority to manage daily operations in school buildings remains with principals, as intended by the 1993 reforms, and is not compromised by bargained personnel-related policies.

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