Teacher Evaluation, Grievance, Termination

Policy 4135 | Guidelines for Reduction in Force

By Certified Personnel, Teacher Evaluation, Grievance, Termination
    1. Needs for Reduction in Force 
      1. The Board of Education may begin a reduction in force only under the following statutory provisions: 
        1. Enrollment decline
        2. Budget reduction
        3. School consolidation
        4. Elimination of a particular service 
    2. Notification of Need for a Reduction in Force 
      1. In the event the Board anticipates a lay-off of educators, the Superintendent or his designee will notify the teacher’s association of this plan by March 1 and shall provide the association with a report outlining the need. Nothing in this paragraph shall limit the ability of the Alpine School District to undertake a reduction in force for which notification occurred after March 1 in response to the significant and unforseen loss of anticipated revenues. Any reduction in force must be preceded by a minimum notice of 60 calendar days. 
      2. Reductions other than personnel will be made before a reduction in personnel is effected. 
      3. The Board of Education shall use every reasonable means to keep the reduction as low as possible.
    3. Alpine School District School System Priority List
      1. In the event that a reduction is necessary, an Alpine School District priority list of required size will be prepared, by school, from personnel office records. The priority list may be based on the results of an employee’s performance evaluation; and a school’s personnel needs.  
    4. Recall Rights 
      1. The recall rights of laid-off certificated personnel will be eliminated two years following layoff. 
    5. Option for Half-Time Employment 
      1. In the event of a reduction in force, the opportunity of half-time employment will be offered, as half-time vacancies are identified, to any educator interested in changing to half-time employment. Teachers who accept half-time employment will retain their position on the seniority list for recall to full employment. The fringe benefits provided for a period of two years during lay-off will be limited to the following: 
        1. For the first year contract health and life Insurance benefits will be paid by the district with accompanying monthly premium co-pays paid by the employee, where applicable. After the first year Policy 4080.1 (half-time educators) will be in effect.
        2. All other fringe benefits shall be in accordance with Policy 4080.1. 
    6. Recall of Staff After a Reduction in Force
      1. When Alpine School District educators are on lay-off status and there is a total district student enrollment and revenue increase, the Superintendent or designee will meet with the Association officers prior to budget adoption to review the effect each increase may have on the recall section of this policy.
      2. Increase in certified staff will be made from the priority list in the reverse order of their reduction. 

    1. In the event that a general reduction in force becomes necessary, the district staff and teachers’ association representative shall cooperate in the following procedure to insure that the reduction will take place in the following order: 
      1. Self-initiated resignations, early retirements and half-time assignments.
      2. Educators not holding a valid teacher’s certificate or authorization. 
    2. In the event that a general reduction in force becomes necessary in accordance with this policy, the following procedure will take place. 
      1. The staff requirements and projected student enrollment for all schools in the district shall be listed by building for the forthcoming school year.
      2. Staff selection to fill all staffing requirements in regards to the reduction in force, will be made from the school specific priority list in descending order from the highest to the lowest position, provided that where assignments require certification or endorsement by State regulations. Such assignments will be filled by those educators currently holding the necessary certification or endorsement. In the event that educators are not available on the school specific priority list, educators with appropriate licensure will be rehired based upon the results of the employee’s performance evaluation.
      3. If an educator’s assignment will not be available in the forthcoming year, that educator shall be assigned to a position consistent with his certificate or endorsement and in his major or minor field of study.
      4. Individual educators not slotted into a teaching position will be notified of the layoff by one of the following:
        1. Personal contact with written notice given.
        2. By certified mail within (10) ten working days of the decision of layoff. These educators shall be recalled as needed under provisions of this policy. 
      5. When a reduction in force takes place, the Human Resources office, in cooperation with the employee being laid off, will assist the employees in finding employment in other districts. The District shall also sponsor a free career planning seminar for those educators being laid off.

    1. In the event that it becomes necessary to eliminate or reduce specific positions, each individual affected will be reassigned or laid off according to one of the following guidelines: 
      1. The individual will be placed in another position within his own school.
      2. The individual will be placed in another position within the District.
      3. The individual will be laid off according to the provisions of this policy. 
    2. The reassignment or layoff will be in accordance with the individual’s order on the priority list and in terms of the provisions of this policy. An educator who does not have the proper certification cannot replace a professional educator who has the proper certification. Educators who do not have the proper certification will not be moved from secondary to elementary positions or from elementary to secondary positions. 
    3. The District may provide an interest free loan to assist in obtaining the certification or endorsement. Before the loan is finalized an agreement will be reached on a payback schedule for the loan. The payback may be handled through payroll deduction. In the event that more than one year is provided for the obtaining of the required certification it will be necessary for the person to earn the fractional part of the total requirement each year of the extension. For example, if three (3) years is allowed to obtain the needed certification, the educator is required to earn twelve (12) semester hours to obtain certification, the educator would be required to accumulate no less than four semester hours before the beginning of the second year of authorization and eight (8) semester hours before the beginning of the third year of the authorization to continue the authorization. Failure to do so will result in the termination of the educator. Thirty (30) calendar days advance notice will be given if termination is to be effected. 
    4. In the event there are more educator lay-offs than there are vacancies created in other programs, the remaining educators will be considered in accordance with the provisions of this policy. 

    1. In the event of a recall, the laid-off educators will be notified by phone as their turn comes. It is the responsibility of each educator to notify the Human Resources office of any change of address, or phone number. In the event that the educator cannot be reached by phone, a registered or certified letter shall be sent to his last known address. Any educator so notified shall respond within five (5) working days from the receipt of notice that he accepts or rejects the offered position. If a position is offered to an educator and the educator rejects the offered position, he shall be considered to have resigned from the employ of the District and all benefits shall cease at that time. 
    2. All benefits to which the educator was entitled to at the time of his layoff, including but not limited to unused accumulated sick leave and credits toward sabbatical eligibility, will be restored upon the educator’s return to active employment. The educator will be placed on the proper step of the salary schedule which corresponds to the educator’s experience and education in accordance with negotiated agreement and District policy. 

    1. It is understood and agreed that although educators properly laid off, according to the terms of this policy and in compliance with existing law, may not have a continuing contract guaranteeing them a teaching position and a salary for the forthcoming school year. Each laid-off educator shall be considered to have employment status with the district for the purposes of priority, insurance, and other fringe benefits as provided below. 
      1. The board shall pay the cost of the current health and life insurance benefit program with accompanying monthly premium co-pays paid by the educator, where applicable, for all educators on layoff for six months, beginning the day on which the layoff is effective or the first day of the new school year, whichever is later. The insurance benefits will be terminated on the day the educator accepts new employment. If an educator was receiving only part of the cost from the district at the time of lay-off, that amount would be paid during the above described period. 
      2. A laid-off educator shall be considered to have employment status with the district until he/she submits a written resignation, fails to respond within five (5) working days of an offered recall as provided in this policy, or two (2) years have transpired since the lay-off. 

    1. Employee’s address and phone number: The employee’s address and phone number, as they appear on the Human Resource office’s records, shall be used in connection with layoffs, recall, or other notices to the educator. It shall be the responsibility of each educator to notify the Human Resource office of any change of address or phone number. 
    2. General layoff: A reduction in force in all areas of the district. 
    3. Layoff of specific program: A reduction in force because a program or area is: 
      1. No longer funded by the state or federal agencies and for which no other source of funding is available. 
      2. Eliminated because of insufficient student enrollment based on district guidelines of teacher/student ratios and other appropriate statistical information.
      3. Consolidated or discontinued. 
    4. Part time assignments: When an employee’s assignment is less than the regular full time contract.
    5. Recall or call back: A system of rehiring educators within the provisions of this policy when a reduction in force is no longer necessary.

Policy 4134 | Orderly Termination Policy for Certified Personnel

By Certified Personnel, Teacher Evaluation, Grievance, Termination
    1. Definition of Terms 
      1. CAREER EDUCATOR: Any certified educator who has completed three or more successful years of half-time or greater teaching experience in Alpine School District and who has not been retained as a provisional educator or has not been placed on probation. Educators with prior service may also be classified as career educators as outlined in below. These individuals have a reasonable expectation of continued employment.  
      2. PROVISIONAL EDUCATOR: An educator who has served less than three full years in the District. 
        1. Any educator who transfers into the District with one year previous experience shall be classified as a provisional educator for two years [see Policy No. 4048 (1.1.4)]. However, teachers with two or more years of previous successful teaching experience shall be moved to the career educator status and the Basic Professional level* after their first year if their evaluation is satisfactory and if they are recommended by their principals. 

*Career Ladder Designation

      1. EDUCATOR: All teaching and professional personnel of a school district, except administrators, (those paid on the administrative salary schedule) who hold positions requiring certification/license and valid endorsements issued to them by the State Board of Education. 
      2. PROBATIONARY EDUCATOR: A career educator who, because of unsatisfactory performance, is placed in a probationary status for the purpose of remediation. 
      3. CONTRACT TERM: The period of time an educator is engaged by the school district pursuant to a contract whether oral or written.Alpine School District contracts will begin July 1 and will end on June 30. 
      4. TERMINATION: 
        1. Failure to renew the contract of a career educator for a succeeding contract term.
        2. Reduction in salary of any educator not generally applied to all educators in the employ of the school district during such educator’s contract term.
        3. Change of assignment of an educator with an accompanying reduction in pay, unless the agreement of the educator for such reduction has been obtained in writing. 

      1. Provisional educators are at-will employees and have no expectation of continued employment. 
      2. If a principal/supervisor recommends that the district not issue a provisional educator a contract for a subsequent year, the principal submits a letter to the Superintendent or a designee requesting that the provisional educator be officially notified of the district’s intention not to extend the contract for the following year. 
      3. At the conclusion of the third year of provisional status, the principal/supervisor may recommend that a provisional educator be retained on a provisional status (not to exceed two additional years) by submitting a letter to the Superintendent or a designee requesting that the provisional educator be officially notified of the district’s intention to retain the educator on provisional status. 
      4. The Superintendent or a designee shall hand deliver the notice or send it by certified mail to the person’s last known address. The notice shall indicate the district’s intent to not issue a contract for the subsequent year or to retain the educator on provisional status. Written notice shall be mailed or delivered no later than April 1. In the event the school calendar provides for less than 60 days notice from April 1 to the last day of school, the date shall be adjusted to provide for 60 calendar days. 
      5. In cases of extreme incompetence or unsatisfactory performance, as determined by the principal, provisional educators may be terminated by the Superintendent or a designee upon receipt of thirty (30) days written notice. 
      1. f a career educator is not performing in an acceptable and satisfactory manner, the superintendent or a designee may: 
        1. Officially place the career educator on probation for remediation by a written notice hand delivered or sent by certified mail. This written notification shall be delivered to the career educator not later than March 7. The career educator on probation shall retain the rights as provided in 2.2.2. 
        2. The career educator shall be given a period of time in which to correct the problem(s)/remediation giving rise to anticipated non-renewal. This time is a time of probation/remediation and shall be for at least 30 days. At the discretion of the principal in consultation with District officials, the length of the probation/remediation period may be increased beyond 30 days. The principal shall meet with the career educator to discuss the course of action set out in the notice of probation/remediation, including the principal’s involvement, goals, methods of achieving them, and a time frame for the same. 
      2. If a principal in conjunction with district administration determines after the period of probation/remediation that the career educator has not been successfully remediated and that the contract shall not be renewed for the subsequent year, the following procedure will occur: 
        1. Termination Notice – The Superintendent or a designee shall provide written notification of the district’s intention not to renew the career educator’s contract. The notice shall contain a clear and concise statement that the contract will not be renewed, the reasons for the termination (and the entitled right to request an informal conference with the Superintendent or designee). This notice shall be hand delivered to the educator or sent by certified mail to the educator’s last known address not later than April 20th. 
        2. Informal Conference Request – Following the receipt of the written notice the educator may request an informal conference with the Superintendent or a designee. The request must be submitted in writing to the Superintendent within 15 days of the date of hand delivery or the mailing. The conference will be held as soon as practical. The educator may bring a representative to the informal conference, however no legal counsel or witnesses will be permitted.
          1. The Superintendent or a designee shall notify the teacher of the results of the informal conference. 
          2. An educator who requests an informal hearing with the Superintendent or a designee may also formally request through written notification a hearing as noted in 
        3. Challenges to Termination – If an educator does not desire an informal conference with the Superintendent or a designee but wishes to challenge the proposed termination, the educator may request a hearing as described in section 2.3. The educator may not appeal directly to the Board of Education. The request must be in writing to the Superintendent within 15 days following the hand delivery of the mailing. The hearing panel shall be selected within 10 days following the educator’s request to the Superintendent. 
        4. Failure to Request a Hearing – If the educator does not request in writing a hearing within 15 days the termination will be considered complete and the written notice of final termination by the Board of Education, effective the date stated and the notice of non-renewal shall serve as the final written notice of termination. No further review by either a hearing panel or by the Board will be provided. 
      3. Hearing Procedure 
        1. At the beginning of every other school year (beginning with the 2020-21 school year), the teacher’s association and the district shall select ten individuals each (20 total), all of whom are current employees of Alpine School District, to serve as candidates for any hearing panel that may be convened for that school year. These individuals shall be provided training on concepts relevant to serving on a hearing panel. In the event that either team loses a member (i.e. retirement, termination, etc.), an additional training will be held for new panel members. 
        2. A hearing panel shall consist of a five member panel. The panel members shall be selected as follows: 
          1. Prior to the selection of the hearing panelists, any member of the pool who is determined to have a conflict of interest shall be excused from serving on the panel. A conflict of interest may include: supervisor, witness, colleague, serving in the same building, close personal friend, etc. 
          2. Panelist(s) shall make a self-declaration regarding any conflict of interest. Panelist(s) will provide an explanation of the conflict.
          3. After panelists have declared any conflict of interest, each side may challenge any one individual from the other side’s remaining pool relative to a perceived conflict of interest. The conflict of interest must be specified. The particular panelist will then be excused from serving on the panel. 
            1. After the elimination of candidates from the pool based upon conflict of interest, each side shall adjust by deletion the number of remaining candidates in order to create an equal number of candidates on both sides. 
          4. Each side (the district and the association) shall select one member from their own remaining pool. This leaves each side with an equal number of remaining candidates. Each side shall then eliminate sufficient candidates from the other side’s remaining pool to leave a maximum pool of five. From this pool each side shall select one candidate from the other’s pool to serve on the panel. The remaining names from each side’s pool shall then be placed in a box from which the fifth member’s name shall be drawn. The side drawing the name shall be determined by a toss of the coin. 
          5. The five members will determine, by a simple majority vote, the panelist who will serve as chair of the hearing panel. 
        3. The educator and the district shall receive a list of witnesses and copies of all documentary evidence to be used in the case at least 10 days prior to the commencement of the hearing. 
        4. The educator has the right to counsel: to subpoena witnesses; to hear testimony against him/her; to cross examine witnesses; and to examine documentary evidence submitted to the panel, and such other rights provided by law. 
        5. At the conclusion of the hearing, the panel will retire and deliberate. Upon reaching a decision by simple majority vote, the panel will make written findings of fact and conclusions including a minority report if the decision is not unanimous. A copy of the panel’s findings and conclusions (majority/minority) shall be delivered submitted by personal delivery or certified mail to the educator, the Board of Education, the Superintendent and the Association. 
        6. Either side may appeal the panel decision to the Board of Education. An appeal must be requested in writing to the Board within 10 days of the conclusion submission of the report of the hearing panel. If an appeal is not filed within the 10 days, the decision of the hearing panel will stand.
          1. The Board of Education will meet in a closed session to consider the appeal. Counsel for both sides may be present to represent the majority/minority opinions. During this session, both sides may take up to 20 minutes each to present their position as it relates to the majority and minority opinions of the hearing panel. An additional 10 minutes per side will be allowed to present any rebuttal. The Board of Education may ask questions during this process. At the conclusion of the rebuttal period the Board may ask questions. Evidence may not be introduced beyond that which was presented to the hearing panel. At the conclusion of the presentations, everyone but the elected members of the Board of Education shall be excused. The Board will then deliberate the outcome of the appeal. 
            1. If the Board of Education uses legal counsel, it must be from a different firm than the one used to represent the district’s position during the appeal. 
            2. No school board member shall have communication regarding the hearing appeal with any individual who is not a member of the school board, other than any legal counsel as defined in until the Board takes action on the appeal.
          2. The Board of Education may either accept or reject the findings of the majority hearing panel. The Board will take official action regarding the outcome of the appeal at the next regularly scheduled School Board business meeting. Such action shall be final. 
            1. If the Board of Education rejects the decision of the hearing panel they must state their rationale. 
    3. Nothing here shall be construed to limit the right of either the Board or the educator to appeal to an appropriate court of law.
    4. Items to be considered in an orderly termination process must also satisfy the provisions of Alpine School District Board of Education policy Number 4054 (Personnel Records). 

The active service of any educator may be terminated by the district for cause. Notification to the educator shall be given in writing at least thirty days prior to the proposed date of termination. Causes for termination or non-renewal include: 

    1. Insubordination. Defined as “Refusal to obey a directive which a supervisor is entitled to give and have obeyed”. 
    2. Improper or unlawful physical contact with students.
    3. Manufacturing, possessing, using, dispensing, distributing, selling, and/or engaging in any transaction or action to facilitate the use, dispersal, or distribution of any illicit (as opposed to authorized) drugs or alcoholic beverages on school district premises or as a part of any school district activity.
    4. Falsification of information supplied to the district (such as: application, employment data, reports, testing data).
    5. Failure to obtain or maintain an appropriate license.
    6. Theft of District property.
    7. Inability, incapability, or failure to perform essential job functions despite reasonable accommodations.
    8. Evident unfitness to perform teaching duties.
    9. Violation of District policy which is of sufficient gravity to warrant termination.
    10. Conviction of a crime which has a rational nexus to education.
    11. Conduct which is harmful to students and which is of such a negative nature that it warrants termination. 

Nothing in this policy shall be construed to preclude staff reduction when necessary to decrease the number of educators because of the discontinuance of a particular service, decrease student enrollments in the District, because of the shortage of anticipated revenue after the budget has been adopted or because of school consolidations. Reduction in force shall be governed by the Reduction in Force policy.

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