2/13/24 Newsletter

What Could Be: Expanding Transfer Rights for CUSD Educators

A Look into Our Current Process, What Could be Achieved, and What Has Been Achieved at CUSD.

A union contract offers us much more than just an opportunity to bargain for better wages; it’s a pathway to addressing the issues that concern us as educators and impact our students. One issue that has reared its head more often than any of us would like is transfers, especially involuntary transfers.

Unfortunately, our fellow educators who find themselves the target of involuntary transfers often ask, “What are my rights?” and “Can they just transfer me without my consent?” The answer to these questions is often not well received, seeing as how Clovis Unified has structured its transfer policy for certificated staff in a way that offers little to no recourse for educators to challenge their employer’s unfair decisions.

Without a collective bargaining agreement (a union contract), all guidelines or procedures established to govern the transfer process are at the sole discretion of the district. This doesn’t just cause frustration for educators who may be moved from an assignment where they are thriving for arbitrary reasons – students may lose out on having a teacher who wants to be in that assignment. Admin may even have the best interest of students at heart – but they also don’t have the direct knowledge of the situation that classroom teachers and other frontline educators have.

Building a strong and independent union for all educators gives us an opportunity to create a fair and equitable process for transfers moving forward, where the educator’s interests and input have a more prominent role in the final decisions.

Let us explore the concept of transfer rights in our district, from our current process to what could be possible and what has already been achieved through the power of bargaining, as our School Psychologists and MHSPs showed us last year.

CUSDs Transfer Process
(Our Current Reality)

Neighboring Districts Transfer Process
(What Could Be Achieved)

ACE Psych/MHSPs Transfer Rights
(What Has Been Achieved)
Admin maintains complete control over all aspects of staffing regardless of educator concerns. (See CUSD Transfer Policy & 2023 Teacher Transfer Guidelines)

District admin decides the staffing resources without explaining the APU formula.

Site admin decides staffing for their site within the APU and can make changes as they want.

Vacancies may or may not be posted internally, but transfers can be made involuntarily through an ambiguous process.

Applicants must apply and interview for a new position.

Employees can be moved involuntarily without limit, recourse, or remedy. (i.e. a teacher can be told at the end of the year or over the summer that their position, title, role, site, grade level, etc. have been changed for the next year.)
Terms and processes of staffing can be bargained to include the voice of educators to protect a fair process, which ultimately remains under the control of admin. (the following are examples of possible contract protections during transfers and reassignments)

Needs are established by the admin to comply with bargained class size caps.
Vacancies are posted for voluntary transfers prior to any involuntary process, except under certain conditions.

Decisions among internal applicants for any one position are based on objective terms of the contract. (i.e. among three internal applicants to the same position, the contract may state that seniority must be respected)

Educators who are moved involuntarily may be entitled to support or protection. (i.e. a teacher may be involuntarily moved but receives additional classroom resources, is protected from repeated reassignments, and is granted the right to return to their previous position if it re-opens the next year)
Vacancies will be posted internally for 5 days before posting externally, giving equal opportunity for all internal applicants. 

Unfilled vacancies will be covered through alternative means (qualified retirees, temporary and voluntary increase of time for part-time employees) prior to temporary coverage or involuntary transfers.

Temporary coverage of another position is limited to 60 days. 

Involuntary transfers are granted up to two duty days to physically relocate.

The most significant difference between CUSD’s process and that of union districts is that union districts review and update their transfer policies and guidelines to meet the needs of educators and students best when contracts are negotiated. In CUSD, classroom teachers don’t have a real voice in the policies.

In union districts, teachers have rights when they are transferred. The contract language also captures certain support needs for teachers when they’re transferred, such as possible prep days or stipends to set up their new classroom.  Teachers do not have to go through the interview process to get a new position. In CUSD, teachers have to interview.

What Could Be:

Potential Transfer Process Language From Neighboring School Districts

We looked at transfer language from two of our neighboring school districts, Central Unified1 and Madera Unified2, and found possible language regarding transfers that would be helpful in our district.

This language pertains to voluntary Transfers, Involuntary Transfers, and Administrative Transfers; all have language regarding what the district can do and how those selected for transfer are notified, chosen, etc.

Voluntary Transfers:
Current bargaining unit members are given first priority if posted prior to July 1

Interested educators email HR to notify the district of interest in the open position (no interview, no collecting of resumes, etc.)

If two teachers with the same seniority apply, the teacher with more seniority gets the position.
Involuntary Transfers:
The superintendent will meet with the teacher being involuntarily transferred to discuss the reasons for the transfer.

Unit member will receive 5 days of release time throughout the year to be used to plan/prep/observe other teachers/set up grade books/etc.

Increase of $350 to teacher supply budget for the upcoming year

Involuntary transfers will not occur in consecutive years (protection from being involuntarily transferred for anywhere from 1-3 years)

First right of refusal to return to previous classification if the position reopens the next year.
Administrative Transfers:
May be made by the district for good and sufficient reasons based on the needs of the district.

Shall not be used for disciplinary reasons.

Prior to administrative transfer, district admin will meet with the team to discuss reasons prior to a decision being made.

Unit members shall not be moved more than 4 grade levels above or below their current grade level.

What we have just reviewed is only a glimpse into what is possible in ways to structure a fair and equitable transfer process that works for us, our students, and our district. As we continue to advocate for ourselves and our students, it is important to consider the benefits of a strong union contract for educators. By signing the union petition and becoming members of ACE/CTA, we as educators can play an active role in creating a fair and equitable process for transfers that considers our interests and input institutional knowledge. If we truly believe in having a say in our workplace and ensuring our voices are heard, then signing the union petition is the best step forward.

  1. Page 32 of the Central Unified CBA starts transfer language.
    13.3 specifically discusses involuntary transfer language.
  2. Page 26 of the Madera Unified CBA starts transfer language. specifically addresses stipend for involuntary transfer. specifically addresses protection from moving the next year.


The ACE Elections for Officers, Executive Board, and Representatives are underway! The nomination period ends this week, Wednesday, 02/14/24, at 11:59 pm. To nominate yourself or a colleague for any position or to receive a list of vacant positions, email