NAMPA -- The Nampa School District is being sued by its teachers union.

The Nampa Education Association filed the lawsuit in Third District Court Monday.

The teachers union is challenging the district's contractual change to allow teachers to take up to four unpaid furlough days between January and May 2013. The union says teachers were pressured in December to sign an 'addendum contracts,' which violates Idaho code. Teachersoperate under standards contracts that must be approved by the state superintendent of public instruction.

The Nampa School District has been mired in a financial crisis this school year after accounting errors led to a budget shortfall that has now grown to more than $5 million.

Just last month Nampa voters approved a $4.3 million levy to help the school district try and overcome its financial difficulties. However, less than a week later the school board voted to close Sunny Ridge Elementary School, a decision that upset many parents and students.

I'm not surprised to see this lawsuit as the Nampa Education Association has strongly opposed allowing individuals the opportunity to make a personal choice to help reduce costs by volunteering to not work and not get paid. It's clear that the association is out of touch with our teachers as nearly 60 percent voluntarily signed up for furlough days, supporting our effort restore financial stability. I am disappointed that rather than come up with solutions, the NEA's approach has been to discourage teachers from volunteering and to force the district to spend money it doesn't have on legal fees and court costs.

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