On May 3, 2014, the Connecticut General Assembly passed House of Representatives Bill No. 5559, amending, inter alia, General Statutes Section 10-66q (the bill, as amended and passed, also creates a new apprenticeship grant program under the Standardized Training and Employment Program and expands an existing child day care licensing exemption to apply to any day care service that a municipal agency or department administers). Section 10-66q, enacted last year, previously permitted a local or regional board of education to adopt the uniform regional school calendar developed by its regional educational service center for the 2014-2015 school year, and required that each such board do so prior to July 1, 2015. House Bill No. 5559, however, delays Section 10-66q’s uniform school calendar mandatory adoption and implementation obligations by one year, until July 1, 2016. The bill also permits a district to further delay the mandates by an extra year, until July 1, 2017, if the existence of a collective bargaining agreement makes implementation of the uniform regional school calendar “impossible.”
The bill itself provides no insight as to what constitutes impossibility under a collective bargaining agreement. Does “impossible” simply mean that immediate unilateral implementation would subject the district to unfair labor practice claims under the Teacher Negotiation Act or the Municipal Employees Relations Act? Or does it instead require districts, where necessary, to mid-term or impact bargain to impasse before declaring impossibility? Whatever the proper interpretation may be, this debate may prove largely academic if the regional education service centers are able to provide sufficient flexibility within the adopted uniform calendar to permit most districts to implement such within the confines of their existing labor agreements.