Louisiana Department of Education                                              Employee Policies
Special School District (SSD)                                                           Effective Date: 8/12/2013

Teacher Tenure

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Philosophy

Tenure is a benefit provided to teachers who are found to be effective at increasing student learning. SSD has a strong interest in hiring and retaining effective teachers, and SSD’s teachers will earn and retain tenure in accordance with applicable law, which balances each teacher’s interest in continued employment with everyone’s interest in ensuring that each student is served by effective teachers.

Applicability/Eligibility

For purposes of this policy, a teacher is an SSD employee (a) who holds a teacher’s certificate and (b) whose legal employment requires such teacher’s certificate.

A tenured teacher who loses certification also loses tenure. Those teachers may be eligible re-earn tenure if they become certified again.

An employee who has a teacher’s certificate but is in a position that does not require a teacher’s certificate may not earn tenure in that position.

A tenured teacher who is promoted to a position with a higher salary may not earn tenure in the position with the higher salary, but will retain tenure acquired as a teacher.

A nontenured teacher who is promoted to a position with a higher salary may not earn tenure.

Teachers who are paid with federal funds are not eligible for tenure, and time spent as a teacher paid with federal funds does not count toward eligibility for tenure.

A substitute teacher is not eligible for tenure, because a teacher’s certificate, though preferred, is not required for substitute teachers.

Teachers at the Louisiana Schools for the Deaf and Visually Impaired may attain tenure in the educational program, either the educational program for the hearing impaired or the educational program for the visually impaired, for which they are certified. Teachers at the Louisiana Special Education Center may attain tenure at the Louisiana Special Education Center. Teachers in Special School Programs may attain tenure in Special School Programs.

Policy

Earning and Retaining Tenure

Teachers who are tenured before September 1, 2012, including those who are tenured in positions with a higher salary than a teacher pursuant to prior law, retain tenure, subject to applicable law and this policy.

Beginning July 1, 2012, teachers will attain tenure if they are rated “highly effective” for five years within a six year period, through personnel evaluations.

A teacher who does not earn tenure within the first six years of employment remains an at-will employee of SSD and retains the ability to earn tenure by achieving a “highly effective” performance rating for five of six consecutive years as long as he remains employed as a teacher.

When a teacher earns tenure, based on consistently “highly effective” performance ratings, the SSD Superintendent will notify the teacher in writing, and will specify the date that tenure is earned, which shall be the first day the teacher would be required to work for the following school year, according to the school calendar.

Losing Tenure

Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, a tenured teacher who receives an “ineffective” rating on either part of the performance evaluation will immediately lose tenure, and all rights related to tenure.

Reinstatement of Tenure

Tenure will be reinstated immediately if the “ineffective” performance rating is reversed through the performance evaluation grievance procedure.

Reacquiring Tenure
A teacher who loses tenure based on an “ineffective” performance evaluation rating, loss of certification, or for any other reason, may re-earn tenure the same way any teacher earns tenure—by achieving a “highly effective” performance rating for five of six consecutive years.

Removal of Nontenured Teachers

The SSD Superintendent may terminate any nontenured teacher after providing the teacher with written reasons for termination and giving the teacher seven days to respond. In order to be considered, the teacher’s response must be submitted to the SSD Superintendent in writing, and must be signed by the teacher or an attorney representing the teacher. If the teacher chooses to respond, the response will be included in the teacher’s personnel file.

Removal of Tenured Teachers

The SSD Superintendent may terminate a tenured teacher after providing the teacher with written and signed charges and giving the teacher seven days to respond. In order to be considered, the teacher’s response must be submitted to the SSD Superintendent in writing, and must be signed by the teacher or an attorney representing the teacher. If the teacher chooses to respond, the response will be included in the teacher’s personnel file.

The charges that support terminating a tenured teacher are: poor performance, willful neglect of duty, incompetency, dishonesty, or immorality, or being a member of or contributing to any group, organization, movement, or corporation that is by law or injunction prohibited from operating in the state of Louisiana. Immorality means a conviction of a felony offense affecting the public morals enumerated in Part V of Chapter 1 of Title 14 of the Louisiana Revised Statues of 1950. For purposes of this policy, the results of a teacher's evaluation performed pursuant to R.S. 17:3881 through 3905 evaluating the teacher's performance as "ineffective" shall constitute sufficient proof of poor performance, incompetence, or willful neglect of duty, and no additional documentation shall be required to substantiate such charges.

The SSD Superintendent may terminate a tenured teacher after considering a response submitted by the teacher, except that a teacher who is being terminated for an “ineffective” performance rating may not be terminated until the completion of any grievance the teacher files.

A tenured teacher who has been terminated may request a hearing, by submitting a written request to the SSD Superintendent within seven days after the termination. The request must be submitted by certified mail. The hearing will begin within seven business days of receipt of the teacher’s request and will be heard by a panel composed of (1) the SSD Superintendent’s designee, (2) the school director or regional coordinator’s designee, and (3) the teacher’s designee. A panel member may not be an immediate family member or a full-time employee under the supervision of the person making the designation.

The teacher may determine whether the hearing will be private or public, and the teacher shall have the right to appear before the panel with witnesses on his behalf and with counsel of his selection, all of whom shall be heard by the panel at the hearing.

The panel shall have the right to issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses. Subpoenas will be issued by the SSD Superintendent’s designee. An SSD employee who fails to appear in response to a subpoena issued by the panel may face disciplinary action.

Nothing in this policy shall impair the right to seek supervisory review from a court of competent jurisdiction.

After the hearing, the panel shall submit its recommendation to the SSD Superintendent, and the SSD Superintendent may choose to reinstate the teacher. If the SSD Superintendent does not reinstate the teacher, the teacher will be notified by mail.

A teacher who is not reinstated after a hearing may, within sixty days from the postmarked date of the written notification, petition a court of competent jurisdiction to review whether the action of the SSD Superintendent was arbitrary or capricious. If the court reverses the SSD Superintendent’s action and orders the teacher reinstated and restored to duty, the teacher shall be entitled to full pay for any loss of time or salary sustained as a result of the SSD Superintendent’s action.