In a rare move, the Oxnard Federation of Teachers and School Employees (OFTSE) has filed an Unfair
Labor Practice Claim against the Oxnard Union High School District (OUHSD) and Superintendent Tom
McCoy. OFTSE filed the claim with the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) on Tuesday 4/13.
On March 23rd, OUHSD schools opened with return being voluntary for students, teachers and staff.
Students, who are not yet eligible for vaccines, primarily remained in distance learning – only 15%
returned to in-person classes. Over 25% of teachers returned.
On Tuesday, March 30th, Superintendent Tom McCoy announced that he was breaking the contract with OFTSE and making the return to schools “mandatory” for teachers as of April 26th. The contract
explicitly calls for a “voluntary return” for teachers through the end of the school year. McCoy took this
action without a vote of his board or public meeting. This demand for a mandatory return is a violation
of the contract with OFTSE which states: section 4.07.1 “Participation in a Hybrid instructional program is voluntary for Students, Families, Teachers and Staff”.
The contract was signed in Oct 2020 by the administration and the teacher’s union and approved on a
5-0 vote by the OUHSD Board of Trustees. When questioned about his reasoning, McCoy stated that the mandatory return of teachers was justified due to the improving COVID numbers in Ventura County. Questions of equity arose, since numbers were recently published in the VCStar showing that OUHSD had the highest occurrence of new COVID cases (countywide) even with just the voluntary return in March. Most notably, South Oxnard has been hit especially hard by COVID.
“The last thing teachers need in a pandemic is an administration that does not honor its contracts” said
Ed Ransom, a social science teacher at Channel Islands. “I have major concerns about equity if we are
shifting our resources to the 15% of students who return at the expense of the 85% still in distance
learning.” Student return will remain voluntary through the year.
“I have dedicated my life to teaching. I want what is best for teachers and students.” Said Ms. Cole, Port
Hueneme teacher. “We should be focused on taking care of students, not dealing with broken
The Federation of Teachers has asked PERB to declare the actions of the district to be unlawful and an
Unfair Labor Practice. “We felt it necessary to take legal action to protect our teachers. Superintendent
McCoy’s plan breaks the law, breaks our trust, and was adopted in secret behind closed doors”, said
Cole, “and he did it all for just 37 school days? How is this prioritizing our students, when most students will not be back at schools.”
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Tim Allison, OFTSE Exec Dir