School board to consider resolution to save teacher tenure

Dec. 18, 2013 @ 05:30 PM

The school board will consider adoption of a resolution Thursday that urges the General Assembly to repeal a new state law that requires school districts to offer 25 percent of their teachers four-year contracts and annual bonuses in exchange for teachers giving up “career status” or tenure as it is more commonly known.
The board will consider the resolution during its regular school board meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Fuller administration building.
It will also be asked to consider approving the process school administrators have designed to select the teachers and support staffers to offer the four-year contracts. 
The board is strongly opposed to the law but must abide by it unless the Republican-led General Assembly has an unanticipated change of heart and repeals the law.  
It does have latitude in the method used to select teachers to offer contracts.
If the resolution is approved, the board will join the New Hanover County school board and several others in asking state legislators to repeal the controversial law that opponents contend forces teachers fired or disciplined to give up due process rights, including the right to a hearing.
Earlier this week, the N.C. Association of Educators, along with six veteran teachers, filed a lawsuit contending that the law eliminates due process.
The association and teachers also complained that the state has broken a contract with teachers who took jobs believing they could one day earn tenure.
Meanwhile, supporters contend the new law will make it easier for school districts to get rid of ineffective teachers.
Teachers who accept the four-year contracts will also receive $500 bonuses added to their base salary each year of the contract.
The school board wants lawmakers to allow the district to keep its share of the $10 million the state has allocated for the bonuses paired with the four-year contracts.
According to the resolution, the board would like to use the money for “alternative pay or compensation for additional duties such as mentoring or leadership roles.
It also calls on the board to “develop a more effective long-range compensation plan for teachers that’s tied to career paths with input from the education and business community.”
To qualify for contracts, teachers and support staffers must be employed by DPS for at least three consecutive years and found to be proficient on their last two annual reviews.
Numerical values will be assigned to those evaluations and the top 25 percent of teachers and staff with the highest ratings will be offered four-year contracts.
Durham could offer contracts to 355 of its eligible employees – 292 of them teachers and the rest members of the district’s support staff.
Those teachers not granted tenure before 2013-14 will be granted one-year contracts unless they are among the 25 percent chosen for four-year contracts.