Q: Why do we have tenure in our school district?A: Tenure is governed by New York State Education Law (Sections 2509, 2573, 3012 and 3014) and is not optional for NYS public schools. Teachers are eligible for tenure in their third year of employment, unless they have been granted tenure in a previous district, in which case the probationary period is two, instead of three, years. A tenured teacher has a legal right to his or her job unless a school district can prove just cause for dismissal or discipline in a due process hearing.Q: If we have to lay off teachers, how do seniority rules apply?A: Seniority rights are based upon appointment in a particular tenure area and apply to both tenured and probationary teachers. Should a teaching position be abolished, districts must use seniority to determine the order in which teachers are dismissed. Thus, within the tenure area in which the position was abolished, the teacher with the least seniority would be laid off, even if there are other teachers with less seniority in other tenure areas.
Tenure areas are defined by the NYS Education Department and include Elementary (Pre-K through sixth grade), academic subject areas for grades 7-12 (English, social studies, mathematics, science and foreign language), as well as 15 other special subject areas. In the case of elementary school teachers, teachers from all four elementary schools are in the same tenure area; thus, seniority is looked at district-wide, and not by school or particular grade level.Q: Can we stop awarding tenure? What happens if we do?A: Tenure is mandated by NYS law and is not optional. We are not permitted to hire teachers on a year-to-year contract past the state-defined probationary period. If we continued employing a teacher past the probationary period, the teacher could be considered by law to have been granted tenure "by estoppel" anyway, even without board approval. It is also not legal for a board simply to dismiss all teachers after their three-year probation is over.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Informative Q & A about school budget issues - tenure is mandated by New York State
These FAQ are posted at the Mamaroneck school district website. It appears they are from last year's budget period, but many are relevant today. Here are some selected questions explaining tenure. I previously posted about compensation and benefits Q&A.