2008 Legislation
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SENATE BILL NO. 1437<br /> – Teacher, discharged, procedure


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Bill Status

S1437......................................................by STATE AFFAIRS
PUBLIC SCHOOLS - TEACHERS - Amends existing law relating to professional
personnel in the public school system to revise the procedure required of a
board of trustees to discharge a certificated professional employee during
the term of a contract and to provide for judicial review of a board's

02/20    Senate intro - 1st rdg - to printing
02/21    Rpt prt - to Educ

Bill Text

  ]]]]              LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO             ]]]]
 Fifty-ninth Legislature                   Second Regular Session - 2008


                                       IN THE SENATE

                                    SENATE BILL NO. 1437

                                 BY STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

  1                                        AN ACT

  7    Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:

  8        SECTION 1.  That Section 33-513, Idaho Code, be, and the  same  is  hereby
  9    amended to read as follows:

 10        33-513.  PROFESSIONAL PERSONNEL. The board of trustees of each school dis-
 11    trict  including  any  specially  chartered district, shall have the following
 12    powers and duties:
 13        1.  To employ professional personnel, on written contract in form approved
 14    by the state superintendent of public instruction, conditioned  upon  a  valid
 15    certificate  being held by such professional personnel at the time of entering
 16    upon the duties thereunder. Should the board of trustees fail  to  enter  into
 17    written contract for the employment of any such person, the state superintend-
 18    ent  of  public  instruction  shall withhold ensuing apportionments until such
 19    written contract be entered into. When the board of trustees has  delivered  a
 20    proposed  contract  for  the next ensuing year to any such person, such person
 21    shall have a period of time to be determined by the board of trustees  in  its
 22    discretion, but in no event less than ten (10) days from the date the contract
 23    is delivered, in which to sign the contract and return it to the board. Deliv-
 24    ery  of  a  contract  may  be made only in person or by certified mail, return
 25    receipt requested. When delivery is made in person, delivery of  the  contract
 26    must  be  acknowledged by a signed receipt. When delivery is made by certified
 27    mail, delivery must be acknowledged  by  the  return  of  the  certified  mail
 28    receipt from the person to whom the contract was sent. Should the person will-
 29    fully  refuse  to  acknowledge  receipt of the contract or the contract is not
 30    signed and returned to the board in the designated period of time,  the  board
 31    may declare the position vacant.
 32        The  board  of  trustees shall withhold the salary of any teacher who does
 33    not hold a teaching certificate valid in this state. It shall not contract  to
 34    require  any  teacher to make up time spent in attending any meeting called by
 35    the state board of education or by the state superintendent of public instruc-
 36    tion; nor while attending regularly scheduled official meetings of  the  state
 37    teachers' association.
 38        2.  In  the  case  of  school  districts other than elementary school dis-
 39    tricts, to employ a superintendent of schools for a term not to  exceed  three
 40    (3)  years,  who  shall be the executive officer of the board of trustees with
 41    such powers and duties as the board may prescribe.  The  superintendent  shall
 42    also  act  as  the  authorized representative of the district whenever such is
 43    required, unless some other person shall be named by the board of trustees  to


  1    act  as  its authorized representative. The board of trustees shall conduct an
  2    annual, written formal evaluation of the work of  the  superintendent  of  the
  3    district.  The  evaluation  shall indicate the strengths and weaknesses of the
  4    superintendent's job performance in the year immediately preceding the evalua-
  5    tion and areas where improvement in the superintendent's job  performance,  in
  6    the view of the board of trustees, is called for.
  7        3.  To  employ  through written contract principals who shall hold a valid
  8    certificate appropriate to the position for which they are employed, who shall
  9    supervise the operation and management of the school in  accordance  with  the
 10    policies  established  by  the    board of trustees and who shall be under the
 11    supervision of the superintendent.
 12        4.  To employ assistant superintendents and principals for a term  not  to
 13    exceed  two (2) years. Service performed under such contract shall be included
 14    in meeting the provisions of section 33-515, Idaho Code, as a teacher and per-
 15    sons eligible for a renewable contract as a teacher shall retain  such  eligi-
 16    bility.
 17        5.  To  suspend,  grant  leave of absence, place on probation or discharge
 18    certificated professional personnel for a material  violation  of  any  lawful
 19    rules  or regulations of the board of trustees or of the state board of educa-
 20    tion, or for any conduct which could constitute grounds for  revocation  of  a
 21    teaching  certificate.   Any  certificated  professional  employee, except the
 22    superintendent, may be discharged during a contract term under  the  following
 23    procedures:
 24        (a)  The  superintendent or any other duly authorized administrative offi-
 25        cer of the school district may recommend the discharge of any certificated
 26        employee by filing with the board of trustees  written  notice  specifying
 27        the alleged reasons for discharge.
 28        (b)  Upon  receipt  of such notice the board acting through their its duly
 29        authorized administrative official, shall give the affected employee writ-
 30        ten notice of the allegations and the recommendation of  discharge,  along
 31        with  written notice of a hearing before the board prior to any determina-
 32        tion by the board of the truth of the allegations.
 33        (c)  The hearing shall be scheduled to take place not less  than  six  (6)
 34        days nor more than twenty-one (21) days after receipt of the notice by the
 35        employee.  The date provided for the hearing may be changed by mutual con-
 36        sent.
 37        (d)  The hearing shall be public unless the employee requests  in  writing
 38        that  it  be in executive session, and shall be held within the boundaries
 39        of the school district.
 40        (e)  The board shall appoint a hearing officer to conduct the hearing. The
 41        hearing officer appointed by the board shall have the  power  to  subpoena
 42        witnesses,  administer  oaths,  and  examine such of the books, papers and
 43        records of the parties to the hearing as relate to the questions  in  dis-
 44        pute.  The  district  court, in and for the county in which the hearing is
 45        held, shall have the power to enforce by proper proceedings the attendance
 46        and testimony of witnesses,  and  production  and  examination  of  books,
 47        papers and records.
 48        (f)  All  testimony  at  the hearing shall be given under oath or affirma-
 49        tion. Any member of the board, or the clerk of the board, may The  hearing
 50        officer shall administer oaths to witnesses or affirmations by witnesses.
 51        (fg)  The  employee may be represented by legal counsel and/or by a repre-
 52        sentative of a local or state teachers association.
 53        (g)  The chairman of the board or the designee of the chairman shall  con-
 54        duct the hearing.
 55        (h)  The  board shall cause an electronic record of the hearing to be made


  1        or shall employ a competent reporter to  take  stenographic  or  stenotype
  2        notes  of  all  the  testimony at the hearing. A transcript of the hearing
  3        shall be provided at cost by the board upon request of the employee.
  4        (i)  At the hearing the superintendent or other duly  authorized  adminis-
  5        trative  officer  shall  present  evidence to substantiate the allegations
  6        contained in such notice.
  7        (j)  The employee may produce evidence to refute the allegations. Any wit-
  8        ness presented by the superintendent or by the employee shall  be  subject
  9        to  cross-examination  by  the other party, or by the hearing officer. The
 10        board may also examine witnesses and be represented by counsel.
 11        (k)  The affected employee parties may file written briefs and   arguments
 12        with  the  hearing  officer  and the board within three (3) days after the
 13        close of the hearing or such other time as  may  be  agreed  upon  by  the
 14        affected employee and the board.
 15        (l)  Within  fifteen  (15)  days  following  the close of the hearing, the
 16        hearing officer shall provide written recommendations to  the  board,  and
 17        the  board  shall  determine and, acting through their its duly authorized
 18        administrative official, shall notify the employee in writing whether  the
 19        evidence presented at the hearing established the truth of the allegations
 20        and  whether  the  employee  is to be retained, immediately discharged, or
 21        discharged upon termination of the current contract.
 22        (m)  The decision of the board shall be  final  and  binding,  unless  the
 23        employee  seeks  judicial review of the board's decision by filing a peti-
 24        tion in the district court in the county in which  the  hearing  was  held
 25        within twenty-one (21) days of the board's decision.
 26        (n)  Judicial review shall be conducted by the court without a jury. Judi-
 27        cial  review  of issues of fact shall be confined to the record before the
 28        board, supplemented only by additional evidence allowed by the court  upon
 29        good  cause shown by the parties. The court shall not substitute its judg-
 30        ment for that of the board as to the weight of evidence  on  questions  of
 31        fact.
 32        (o)  The  court  shall affirm the board's decision, unless the court finds
 33        that the board's findings, inferences or decisions are:
 34             (i)   In violation of constitutional or statutory provisions;
 35             (ii)  In excess of the statutory authority of the board;
 36             (iii) Made upon unlawful procedure;
 37             (iv)  Not supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole;
 38             or
 39             (v)   Arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion.
 40        (p)  If the board's decision is not affirmed, it shall be  set  aside,  in
 41        whole  or in part, and remanded for further proceedings as necessary. Not-
 42        withstanding the provisions of paragraph (o) of this  subsection  5.,  the
 43        board's  decision  shall  be  affirmed,  unless  substantial rights of the
 44        employee have been prejudiced.

Statement of Purpose / Fiscal Impact

                       STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

                             RS 17959

The purpose of this legislation is to both streamline and
professionalize the process of dismissing a public school teacher
working under a continuing contract.  Under this legislation,
school districts would be required to hire a hearing officer to
conduct the dismissal hearing with the board.  The hearing
officer would be vested with the authority to issue subpoenas, to
ensure that all pertinent information is presented, and would
make a written recommendation to the school board as to whether
the teacher should be dismissed.  If the teacher appeals the
board's decision to district court, the judicial review would be

                           FISCAL NOTE

No fiscal impact to the state.  For school districts, it is
anticipated that the cost of hiring a hearing officer would be
more than offset, in most cases, by the reduction in attorney
costs that would accrue as a result of the limitations on the
scope of any potential appeal to district court, and by any
reduction in the number of cases being appealed. 

Name: Senator John Goedde 
Phone: 332-1322

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/FISCAL NOTE                        S 1437