Adviser settles for year of back pay

NEW YORK — Bad timing and teacher’s union contract negotiations brought about a “disappointing” end to a former high school newspaper adviser’s efforts to regain his job.Clarkstown High School adviser Chris Golde initially entered into arbitration with the Clarkstown school board two years ago to get his advisership back, but settled the case in exchange for one year back pay. As part of the settlement he also waived all rights to pursue the case any further.Golde said the settlement was disappointing but was a “victory in that the case generated negative press for the school board,” lessening the chances that they will handle faculty situations in this way again.Golde had been the newspaper adviser for 15 years when the board elected not to re-appoint him two years ago. He maintains that he was replaced because the board blamed him for letting a controversial affirmative action column run in the school paper. The column, written by a staff writer, brought protest from members of the community and the attention of the local media.The school board has denied that the column and resulting protest had anything to do with Golde’s replacement, but characterized the incident as “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” When asked to come up with other incidents involving Golde, however, they could not produce any.Instead of pursuing the case legally, Golde, with the cooperation of the teacher’s union, entered into arbitration with the school board to try to get his position back. The time for annual teacher’s union contract negotiations came up while his arbitration was still pending, however, and the superintendent refused to enter into contract negotiations until all of the pending arbitration was over.Golde’s case was the only arbitration left and he decided to settle the case rather than hold up contract negotiations, he said.Golde is currently teaching English classes at the school. He said the English department made a final attempt to have Golde reinstated by sending a letter to the school’s superintendent suggesting that he be adviser or at least mentor to his replacement, but the suggestion was ignored.Golde said he plans to help next year’s newspaper adviser.