HB 398: "An Act relating to teacher evaluation, teacher tenure, teacher continuing employment status, teacher layoff and rehire rights, and the rights of teachers to obtain review of decisions of nonretention or dismissal; relating to public access to certain information on, and public participation in, public school collective bargaining; and providing for an effective date."
00HOUSE BILL NO. 398 01 "An Act relating to teacher evaluation, teacher tenure, teacher continuing 02 employment status, teacher layoff and rehire rights, and the rights of teachers 03 to obtain review of decisions of nonretention or dismissal; relating to public 04 access to certain information on, and public participation in, public school 05 collective bargaining; and providing for an effective date." 06 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 07 * Section 1. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES. (a) The legislature finds that 08 (1) this state and its school districts and communities are challenged with 09 improving the quality of education; 10 (2) historically, Alaska's laws have provided job security to experienced 11 teachers in exchange for the development of a competent, professional staff that delivers an 12 excellent education to students; 13 (3) while a tenured teacher has always been subject to dismissal or 14 nonretention for unsatisfactory performance, tenure nevertheless connotes to many a right to
01 lifelong employment in a school district; 02 (4) not enough emphasis has been placed on evaluation of teachers before 03 acquisition of tenure and as a necessary and ongoing component of the right to continued 04 employment; 05 (5) in order to provide a continuous, quality educational program, school 06 districts need to be able to plan for an orderly response to declining enrollment or financial 07 emergency, including the possibility of a reduction in force; and 08 (6) the public has an interest in the improvement of schools and a need for 09 information in order to participate effectively in efforts to improve the schools. 10 (b) The purposes of this Act are to 11 (1) continue to provide the right to continuing employment in a school district 12 to teachers who have earned the right through satisfactory evaluations and satisfaction of other 13 requirements; 14 (2) replace the existing term "tenure" with "continuing employment status" 15 to describe the right to continued employment in a school district, with the understanding that 16 to the extent that existing Alaska case law on tenure addresses the nature of the right to 17 continued employment, it applies to continuing employment status as well; 18 (3) improve the effectiveness of teacher evaluations so that teachers are better 19 able to meet the learning needs of students by requiring 20 (A) adoption by school districts of assessment systems designed with 21 input from students, parents, community members, teachers, and administrators; 22 (B) training for evaluators in the use of the assessment systems; and 23 (C) training for teachers in order that they understand the basis on 24 which they will be evaluated; 25 (4) provide a mechanism for school districts to respond to the need for a 26 reduction in force while still providing some protection to teachers who have acquired 27 continuing employment status; 28 (5) provide that a probationary teacher has no expectation of continued 29 employment in a school district except as provided in AS 14.20.145 and the teacher's one-year 30 contract; 31 (6) provide three means by which a teacher who has acquired continuing
01 employment status may obtain post-termination review of a school district's dismissal or 02 nonretention of the teacher, only one of which may be pursued; and 03 (7) increase public confidence with and involvement in the collective 04 bargaining process by providing for public participation and access to information. 05 * Sec. 2. AS 14.14.060(g) is amended to read: 06 (g) State law relating to teacher salaries and continuing employment status 07 [TENURE], to financial support, to supervision by the department and other general 08 laws relating to schools, governs the exercise of the functions by the borough. The 09 school board shall appoint, compensate, and otherwise control all school employees 10 and administration officers in accordance with this title. 11 * Sec. 3. AS 14.16.050(a)(3) is amended to read: 12 (3) requirements relating to teacher employment and retirement: 13 (A) AS 14.14.105 and 14.14.107 (relating to sick leave); 14 (B) AS 14.20.095 - 14.20.215 (relating to the employment and 15 continuing employment status [TENURE] of teachers); 16 (C) AS 14.20.220 (relating to the salaries of teachers employed); 17 (D) AS 14.20.280 - 14.20.350 (relating to sabbatical leave 18 provisions for teachers); 19 (E) AS 23.40.070 - 23.40.260 (authorizing collective bargaining 20 by certificated employees), except with regard to teachers who are 21 administrators and except that the board may delegate some or all of its 22 responsibilities under those statutes; 23 (F) AS 14.25 (provisions regarding the teachers' retirement 24 system); 25 * Sec. 4. AS 14.20.140(a) is amended to read: 26 (a) If a teacher who has acquired continuing employment status [TENURE 27 RIGHTS] is not to be retained for the following school year, the employer shall notify 28 the teacher of the nonretention by writing, delivered before March 16, or by registered 29 mail postmarked before March 16. 30 * Sec. 5. AS 14.20.140(b) is amended to read: 31 (b) If a probationary teacher [WHO HAS NOT ACQUIRED TENURE
01 RIGHTS] is not to be retained for the following school year the employer shall notify 02 the teacher of the nonretention by writing delivered on or before the last day of the 03 school term or by registered mail postmarked on or before the last day of the school 04 term. 05 * Sec. 6. AS 14.20.145 is amended to read: 06 Sec. 14.20.145. AUTOMATIC REEMPLOYMENT. If notification of 07 nonretention or layoff is not given according to AS 14.20.140 or a district's 08 reduction-in-force plan under AS 14.20.177, respectively, a teacher is entitled to be 09 reemployed in the same district for the following school year on the contract terms the 10 teacher and the employer may agree upon, or if no terms are agreed upon, the 11 provisions of the previous contract are continued for the following school year, subject 12 to AS 14.20.158. The right to automatic reemployment under [BE REEMPLOYED 13 ACCORDING TO] this section expires if the teacher does not accept reemployment 14 within 30 days after the date on which the teacher receives a contract of 15 reemployment. A teacher who is on family leave under AS 23.10.500 - 23.10.550 must 16 comply with the 30-day deadline in this section to retain the teacher's reemployment 17 rights under this section. 18 * Sec. 7. AS 14.20.147(a) is amended to read: 19 (a) When an attendance area is transferred from a currently operating district 20 to, or absorbed into, a new or existing school district, a teacher [THE TEACHERS] 21 for the attendance area also shall be transferred unless otherwise mutually agreed by 22 the teacher [OR TEACHERS] and the chief school administrator of the receiving 23 [NEW] district. Accumulated or earned benefits, including [BUT NOT LIMITED TO,] 24 seniority, salary level, continuing employment status [TENURE], leave, and 25 retirement, accompany the teacher who is transferred. 26 * Sec. 8. AS 14.20 is amended by adding a new section to read: 27 Sec. 14.20.149. TEACHER EVALUATION PROCESS. (a) Except as 28 provided in (e) of this section, a school board shall adopt by July 1, 1997, a 29 professional assessment system for evaluation and improvement of the performance of 30 the district's teachers. The professional assessment system must include 31 (1) evaluation criteria based on professional performance standards
01 adopted by the department in regulation; 02 (2) a component designed for the assessment of a first-year teacher 03 who is new to the profession, including appropriate data collection, multiple 04 observations, at least one evaluation during the school year, and appropriate 05 intervention strategies; and 06 (3) an annual observation and evaluation for teachers who are not first- 07 year teachers new to the profession. 08 (b) A school board shall ensure that students, parents, community members, 09 classroom teachers, and administrators collaborate in the design and periodic review 10 of the professional assessment system. 11 (c) A school board shall ensure that each person who evaluates a teacher is 12 first trained in the use of that district's professional assessment system. A district shall 13 provide inservice training to all teachers on the purposes and components of the 14 district's professional assessment system before the employees are evaluated under the 15 system. 16 (d) A district shall submit its professional assessment system and any 17 subsequently adopted revisions of the system to the department. 18 (e) A district need not evaluate its superintendent under the district's 19 professional assessment system. 20 * Sec. 9. AS 14.20.150 is repealed and reenacted to read: 21 Sec. 14.20.150. ACQUISITION OF CONTINUING EMPLOYMENT 22 STATUS. (a) Except as provided in (c) of this section, a probationary teacher acquires 23 continuing employment status in a district when the teacher 24 (1) possesses a valid teaching certificate that authorizes the teacher to 25 be employed as a regular classroom teacher or as an administrator under regulations 26 adopted by the department; 27 (2) has been employed as a teacher in the same district continuously 28 for three full school years; 29 (3) receives, under the district's professional assessment system, a 30 satisfactory evaluation in the third year of any three-year period of continuous 31 employment with the district;
01 (4) on or before October 15 of the school year, accepts a contract 02 for employment as a teacher in the district for a fourth consecutive school year; and 03 (5) performs a day of teaching services in the district during a fourth 04 consecutive school year. 05 (b) In this section, a full school year of employment means employment that 06 begins on or before the first student count day required by the department in a school 07 year or October 15, whichever occurs first, and continues through the remainder of the 08 school year. 09 (c) A superintendent may not acquire or maintain continuing employment 10 status in a district. 11 * Sec. 10. AS 14.20.155 is amended to read: 12 Sec. 14.20.155. EFFECT OF CONTINUING EMPLOYMENT STATUS 13 [TENURE RIGHTS]. (a) A teacher who has acquired continuing employment status 14 [TENURE RIGHTS] has the right to employment within the district during continuous 15 service. 16 (b) The right to continued employment in a district under (a) of this 17 section expires if a teacher does not accept reemployment within 30 days after the 18 date on which the teacher receives a contract of employment. A teacher who has 19 acquired continuing employment status [TENURE RIGHTS] may agree to a new 20 contract at any time. If a continuing employment status teacher accepts 21 reemployment but [HOWEVER, IF THE TEACHER] fails to agree to the terms of 22 the [A] new contract, the provisions of the previous contract are continued subject to 23 AS 14.20.158. 24 * Sec. 11. AS 14.20.160 is amended to read: 25 Sec. 14.20.160. LOSS OF CONTINUING EMPLOYMENT STATUS 26 [TENURE RIGHTS]. A teacher loses continuing employment status [TENURE 27 RIGHTS ARE LOST] when the teacher's employment in the district is interrupted or 28 terminated. As provided in AS 14.20.177, a teacher on layoff status does not lose 29 continuing employment status during the period of layoff status. 30 * Sec. 12. AS 14.20.165 is amended to read: 31 Sec. 14.20.165. RESTORATION OF CONTINUING EMPLOYMENT
01 STATUS [TENURE RIGHTS]. A teacher who had continuing employment status 02 [HELD TENURE RIGHTS] and who was retired due to disability under AS 14.25.130, 03 but whose disability (1) has been removed, and the removal of that disability is 04 certified by a competent physician following a physical or mental examination, or (2) 05 has been compensated for by rehabilitation or other appropriate restorative education 06 or training, and that rehabilitation or restoration to health has been certified by the 07 division of vocational rehabilitation of the department, shall be restored to full 08 continuing employment status [TENURE RIGHTS] in the district from which the 09 teacher was retired, at such time as an opening for which the teacher is qualified 10 becomes available. 11 * Sec. 13. AS 14.20.170(a) is amended to read: 12 (a) A teacher, including a teacher who has acquired continuing employment 13 status [TENURE RIGHTS], may be dismissed at any time only for the following 14 causes: 15 (1) incompetency, which is defined as the inability or the unintentional 16 or intentional failure to perform the teacher's customary teaching duties in a 17 satisfactory manner; 18 (2) immorality, which is defined as the commission of an act that, 19 under the laws of the state, constitutes a crime involving moral turpitude; or 20 (3) substantial noncompliance with the school laws of the state, the 21 regulations or bylaws of the department, the bylaws of the district, or the written rules 22 of the superintendent. 23 * Sec. 14. AS 14.20.175 is amended to read: 24 Sec. 14.20.175. NONRETENTION. (a) A probationary teacher [WHO HAS 25 NOT ACQUIRED TENURE RIGHTS] is subject to nonretention for the school year 26 following the expiration of the teacher's contract for any cause that the employer 27 determines to be adequate. However, at the teacher's request, the teacher is entitled 28 to a written statement of the cause for nonretention. A school board [THE BOARDS 29 OF CITY AND BOROUGH SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND REGIONAL 30 EDUCATIONAL ATTENDANCE AREAS] shall provide by regulation or bylaw a 31 procedure under which a nonretained teacher may request and receive an informal
01 hearing by the board. 02 (b) A teacher who has acquired continuing employment status [TENURE 03 RIGHTS] is subject to nonretention for the following school year only for the 04 following causes: 05 (1) incompetency, which is defined as the inability or the unintentional 06 or intentional failure to perform the teacher's customary teaching duties in a 07 satisfactory manner; 08 (2) immorality, which is defined as the commission of an act that, 09 under the laws of the state, constitutes a crime involving moral turpitude; or 10 (3) substantial noncompliance with the school laws of the state, the 11 regulations or bylaws of the department, the bylaws of the district, or the written rules 12 of the superintendent; [OR 13 (4) A NECESSARY REDUCTION OF STAFF OCCASIONED BY A 14 DECREASE IN SCHOOL ATTENDANCE]. 15 * Sec. 15. AS 14.20 is amended by adding a new section to read: 16 Sec. 14.20.177. LAYOFF STATUS. (a) A school district may place on layoff 17 status a teacher who has acquired continuing employment status if 18 (1) it is necessary for the district to reduce the number of teachers 19 because of a decrease in school attendance or because the school board has determined 20 that a financial emergency exists; and 21 (2) except as provided in (b) of this section, the district has first given 22 notice of nonretention to all probationary teachers. 23 (b) A school district may retain a probationary teacher and place on layoff 24 status a continuing employment status teacher only if there is no qualified continuing 25 employment status teacher to replace the probationary teacher. 26 (c) A school district must have a reduction-in-force plan. The plan must be 27 consistent with this section and must include procedures for layoff and recall and for 28 determining who is a qualified teacher for purposes of layoff and recall. If the 29 reduction-in-force plan required by this section is provided for entirely or partially in 30 a district's collective bargaining agreement, the district shall inform the department of 31 that fact and the terms of the agreement constitute the relevant portion of the district's
01 plan. If the negotiated plan does not contain all of the procedures required by this 02 section, or if there is no negotiated reduction-in-force plan, the school board shall 03 adopt a plan, or the necessary portion of a plan, that meets the requirements of this 04 section and shall file the plan or portion of the plan and any subsequent revisions with 05 the department. Nothing in this section prohibits a school district from negotiating or 06 adopting a reduction-in-force plan that contains terms in addition to those required by 07 this subsection. 08 (d) A teacher on layoff status is not entitled to reemployment under 09 AS 14.20.145, does not accrue leave, and, except as provided for in the district's 10 reduction-in-force plan, is not entitled to continuation of other employee benefits. 11 However, layoff status does not constitute termination or an interruption in service for 12 purposes of retaining acquired continuing employment status or retaining accrued sick 13 leave. 14 * Sec. 16. AS 14.20.180 is repealed and reenacted to read: 15 Sec. 14.20.180. PROCEDURES UPON NOTICE OF DISMISSAL OR 16 NONRETENTION. (a) Before a teacher is dismissed and before a continuing 17 employment status teacher is nonretained, the teacher must be given (1) oral or written 18 notice of the proposed dismissal or nonretention, and (2) a pre-termination hearing. 19 A pre-termination hearing under this section must comport with the minimum 20 requirements of due process, including an explanation of the employer's evidence and 21 basis for the proposed dismissal or nonretention and an opportunity for the teacher to 22 respond. If, following a pre-termination hearing, an employer determines that 23 dismissal or nonretention is appropriate, the provisions of (b) - (d) of this section 24 apply. 25 (b) An employer shall provide written notice of a decision to dismiss a teacher. 26 As provided in AS 14.20.140(a), an employer shall provide written notice of a decision 27 not to retain a continuing employment status teacher. Along with a notice of dismissal 28 or nonretention under this subsection, the employer shall include a statement of cause 29 and a complete bill of particulars. 30 (c) Within 15 days after receipt of a notice of dismissal or nonretention under 31 (b) of this section, a teacher may notify the employer in writing that a post-termination
01 hearing before the school board is requested. Upon receipt of a notice requesting a 02 hearing, the employer immediately shall arrange for a hearing, and shall notify the 03 teacher in writing of the date, time, and place of the hearing. The teacher may elect 04 to have either a public or a private hearing, and to have the hearing under oath or 05 affirmation. The parties have a right to be represented by counsel and to cross- 06 examine witnesses. The teacher has the right to subpoena a person who has made statements 07 that are used as a basis for the employer's decision to dismiss or nonretain. A written 08 transcript, tape, or similar recording of the proceedings shall be kept. A transcribed copy of 09 the recording shall be furnished to the teacher, for cost, upon request of the teacher. A 10 decision of the school board requires a majority vote of the membership, by roll call. The 11 board's decision shall be written and must contain specific findings of fact and conclusions 12 of law. A written notification of the decision shall be furnished to the teacher within 10 days 13 after the date of the decision. If the school board sustains the dismissal or nonretention, the 14 teacher, in accordance with applicable rules of court, may appeal the decision to the superior 15 court for a judicial review based on the record. 16 (d) A continuing employment status teacher who is dismissed or nonretained 17 may waive the post-termination procedures set out in (c) of this section and 18 (1) within 60 days after receipt of the notice of dismissal or 19 nonretention, file an original action in superior court, which has jurisdiction under 20 AS 22.10.020(d); or 21 (2) within 15 days after receipt of the notice of dismissal or 22 nonretention, notify the school board in writing of the teacher's request to invoke and 23 follow the grievance procedures contained in that district's collective bargaining 24 agreement; if the school board does not agree to follow the grievance procedures, the 25 teacher may, within (A) 15 days after receipt of the school board's written notice of 26 nonagreement, follow the procedures in (c) of this section to request a post-termination 27 hearing, or (B) 60 days after receipt of the school board's written notice of 28 nonagreement, file an original action as described in (1) of this subsection; a school 29 board's failure to respond in writing within 30 days to a teacher's request under this 30 paragraph is considered to be the school board's agreement to invoke and follow the 31 district's grievance procedures.
01 * Sec. 17. AS 14.20.210 is amended to read: 02 Sec. 14.20.210. AUTHORITY OF SCHOOL BOARD OR DEPARTMENT TO 03 ADOPT BYLAWS OR REGULATIONS. A school board [OR THE 04 DEPARTMENT] may adopt [TEACHER TENURE] bylaws, and the department may 05 adopt regulations, relating to continuing employment status so long as the bylaws 06 or regulations do not [IN] conflict with [THE REGULATIONS OF THE 07 DEPARTMENT OR] state law. 08 * Sec. 18. AS 14.20.215 is amended by adding new paragraphs to read: 09 (8) "financial emergency" means a significant demonstrated reduction 10 in per-pupil expenditures due to a decrease in revenue from one year to the next; 11 (9) "probationary teacher" means an individual who 12 (A) is providing services under a contract with a district for 13 employment as a teacher; and 14 (B) does not have continuing employment status with that 15 district. 16 * Sec. 19. AS 14.20.330(b) is amended to read: 17 (b) A sabbatical leave is not an interruption of the continuous service 18 necessary to attain or retain continuing employment status [TENURE] under 19 AS 14.20.150, 14.20.155, or 14.20.160. However, the time spent on sabbatical leave 20 may not be counted in determining when a teacher has sufficient service to enable the 21 teacher to acquire continuing employment status [TENURE RIGHTS]. 22 * Sec. 20. AS 14.20.345(b) is amended to read: 23 (b) A leave of absence is not an interruption of the continuous service 24 necessary to attain or retain retirement or continuing employment status [TENURE 25 RIGHTS] under AS 14.20.150, 14.20.155, or 14.20.160. However, the time spent on 26 leave of absence may not be counted in determining when a teacher has sufficient 27 service to enable the teacher to acquire retirement or continuing employment status 28 [TENURE RIGHTS]. 29 * Sec. 21. AS 23.40 is amended by adding a new section to read: 30 Sec. 23.40.235. PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT IN SCHOOL DISTRICT 31 NEGOTIATIONS. Before beginning bargaining, the school board of a city or borough
01 school district or a regional educational attendance area shall provide opportunities for 02 public comment on the issues to be addressed in the collective bargaining process. 03 Initial proposals, last-best-offer proposals, tentative agreements before ratification, and 04 final agreements reached by the parties are public records available for public review. 05 * Sec. 22. AS 14.16.050(b); AS 14.20.147(b), 14.20.147(c), and 14.20.205 are repealed. 06 * Sec. 23. TRANSITION. Notwithstanding sec. 28 of this Act, the Department of 07 Education immediately may proceed to adopt regulations to implement the changes made by 08 this Act. The regulations take effect under AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act), but not 09 before the effective date of secs. 1 - 22 of this Act. 10 * Sec. 24. APPLICABILITY TO INDIVIDUALS. (a) The amendments made by sec. 9 11 of this Act apply only to 12 (1) an individual first hired as a teacher by a school district, including Mt. 13 Edgecumbe High School, on or after the effective date of sec. 9 of this Act; and 14 (2) an individual rehired as a teacher by a school district, including Mt. 15 Edgecumbe High School, on or after the effective date of sec. 9 of this Act and following an 16 interruption in continuous service that resulted in 17 (A) a loss of tenure rights under AS 14.20.160, as that section 18 appeared on the day before the effective date of sec. 9 of this Act; or 19 (B) failure to acquire tenure rights under AS 14.20.150, as that section 20 appeared on the day before the effective date of sec. 9 of this Act. 21 * Sec. 25. APPLICABILITY TO COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS. 22 Nothing in this Act affects a collective bargaining agreement in effect on the effective date 23 of secs. 1 - 22 of this Act. 24 * Sec. 26. EFFECT OF CHANGE IN TERMINOLOGY. (a) To the extent that existing 25 case law on tenure under AS 14.20 addresses the nature and importance of the right of a 26 teacher to continued employment in a school district, the case law applies to the nature and 27 importance of continuing employment status under AS 14.20, as amended by this Act. 28 (b) A teacher who had tenure under AS 14.20 in a district on the day before the 29 effective date of secs. 1 - 22 of this Act has continuing employment status in the district, 30 rather than tenure, on the effective date of secs. 1 - 22 of this Act. 31 (c) A teacher hired by a district before the effective date of sec. 9 of this Act and to
01 whom sec. 9 of this Act does not apply, acquires continuing employment status, rather than 02 tenure, in the district when the teacher meets the requirements of AS 14.20.150 as that section 03 appeared on the day before the effective date of sec. 9 of this Act. 04 * Sec. 27. Section 23 of this Act takes effect immediately under AS 01.10.070(c). 05 * Sec. 28. Except as provided in sec. 27 of this Act, this Act takes effect July 1, 1996.