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S.B. 157





Sponsor: Bill Wright

             5      This act modifies provisions of the State System of Public Education code relating to
             6      employee contracts and the Utah Orderly School Termination Procedures Act. This act
             7      prospectively authorizes a local school board to negotiate individual contracts of employment
             8      and provide for employment benefits notwithstanding the provisions of a contract entered
             9      into with a local employees' association. This act amends definitions. This act requires a
             10      local school board to interpret its own termination or dismissal policies and prohibits a
             11      board from cancelling or delegating that authority by contract. This act also allows the
             12      extension of provisional status for employees.
             13      This act affects sections of Utah Code Annotated 1953 as follows:
             14      AMENDS:
             15          53A-3-411, as enacted by Chapter 2, Laws of Utah 1988
             16          53A-8-102, as last amended by Chapter 5, Laws of Utah 2001, First Special Session
             17          53A-8-103, as last amended by Chapter 51, Laws of Utah 1994
             18          53A-8-104, as last amended by Chapter 86, Laws of Utah 2001
             19          53A-8-106, as repealed and reenacted by Chapter 324, Laws of Utah 1999
             20      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             21          Section 1. Section 53A-3-411 is amended to read:
             22           53A-3-411. Employment of school personnel -- Length of contract -- Termination for
             23      cause -- Individual contracts -- Exception.
             24          (1) A local school board may enter into a written employment contract for a term not to
             25      exceed five years.
             26          (2) Nothing in the terms of the contract shall restrict the power of a local school board to
             27      terminate the contract for cause at any time.

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         (3) (a) A local school board may negotiate individual contracts of employment and provide
             29      for employment benefits notwithstanding the provisions of a contract entered into with a local
             30      employees' association.
             31          (b) Subsection (3)(a) does not apply to a contract that was entered into with a local
             32      employees' association before May 6, 2002.
             33          Section 2. Section 53A-8-102 is amended to read:
             34           53A-8-102. Definitions.
             35          As used in this chapter:
             36          (1) "Career employee" means an employee of a school district who has obtained a
             37      reasonable expectation of continued employment based upon Section 53A-8-106 and an agreement
             38      with the employee or the employee's association, district practice, or policy.
             39          (2) "Contract term" or "term of employment" means the period of time during which an
             40      employee is engaged by the school district under a contract of employment, whether oral or
             41      written.
             42          (3) (a) "Dismissal" or "termination" means:
             43          [(a)] (i) termination of the status of employment of an employee;
             44          [(b)] (ii) failure to renew or continue the employment contract of a career employee
             45      beyond the then-current school year;
             46          [(c)] (iii) reduction in salary of an employee not generally applied to all employees of the
             47      same category employed by the school district during the employee's contract term; or
             48          [(d)] (iv) change of assignment of an employee with an accompanying reduction in pay,
             49      unless the assignment change and salary reduction are agreed to in writing.
             50          (b) "Dismissal" or "termination" does not include the suspension of an employee for up
             51      to ten work days without pay.
             52          (4) "Employee" means a career or provisional employee of a school district, but does not
             53      include:
             54          (a) the district superintendent, or the equivalent at the Schools for the Deaf and the Blind;
             55          (b) the district business administrator or the equivalent at the Schools for the Deaf and the
             56      Blind; or
             57          (c) a temporary employee.
             58          (5) "Provisional employee" means an individual, other than a career employee or a

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     temporary employee, who is employed by a school district.
             60          (6) "School board" or "board" means a district school board or its equivalent at the Schools
             61      for the Deaf and the Blind.
             62          (7) "School district" or "district" means:
             63          (a) a public school district; or
             64          (b) the Schools for the Deaf and the Blind.
             65          (8) "Temporary employee" means an individual who is employed on a temporary basis as
             66      defined by policies adopted by the local board of education. [If the class of employees in question
             67      is represented by an employee organization recognized by the local board, the board shall adopt
             68      its policies based upon an agreement with that organization.] Temporary employees serve at will
             69      and have no expectation of continued employment.
             70          Section 3. Section 53A-8-103 is amended to read:
             71           53A-8-103. Local school board to establish termination or dismissal policies --
             72      Interpretation.
             73          (1) A local school board shall, [by contract with its employees or their associations, or]
             74      by resolution of the board, establish [procedures] policies for termination or dismissal of
             75      employees in an orderly manner without discrimination.
             76          (2) The [procedures] policies shall include standards of due process and causes for
             77      termination or dismissal.
             78          (3) A local school board shall have discretion to interpret its own policies established
             79      under this section, which discretion and authority may not be cancelled or delegated by contract.
             80          Section 4. Section 53A-8-104 is amended to read:
             81           53A-8-104. Dismissal procedures.
             82          (1) The district shall provide employees with a written statement of causes under which
             83      a career employee's contract may not be renewed or continued beyond the then-current school year,
             84      under which a contract of each class of personnel may not be renewed or continued beyond the
             85      then-current school year, and under which a contract can be otherwise terminated during the
             86      contract term, and the orderly dismissal procedures which are used by the district in cases of
             87      contract termination, discontinuance, or nonrenewal.
             88          (2) (a) If the district intends to terminate a contract during its term or discontinue a career
             89      employee's contract beyond the then current school year for reasons of unsatisfactory performance,

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     the unsatisfactory performance must be documented in at least two evaluations conducted at any
             91      time within the preceding three years in accordance with district policies or practices.
             92          (b) The district shall notify a career employee, at least 30 days prior to issuing notice of
             93      intent not to renew or continue the employee's contract beyond the then-current school year, that
             94      continued employment is in question and the reasons for the anticipated nonrenewal or
             95      discontinuance.
             96          (c) The board shall give the career employee an opportunity to correct the problem in
             97      accordance with the district evaluation policies.
             98          (d) The board may grant the career employee assistance to correct the deficiencies,
             99      including informal conferences and the services of school personnel within the district consistent
             100      with Subsections 53A-1a-104 (7) and 53A-6-102 (2)(a) and (b).
             101          (3) (a) If the career employee does not correct the problem as determined in accordance
             102      with the evaluation and personnel policies of the district and the district intends to not renew or
             103      discontinue the contract of employment of a career employee at the end of the then-current school
             104      year, it shall give notice of that intention to the employee.
             105          (b) The district shall issue the notice at least 30 days before the end of the career
             106      employee's contract term.
             107          (4) A district shall notify a provisional employee at least [60] 30 days before the end of
             108      the provisional employee's contract if the employee will not be offered a contract for a subsequent
             109      term of employment.
             110          (5) In the absence of a notice, an employee is considered employed for the next contract
             111      term with a salary based upon the salary schedule applicable to the class of employee into which
             112      the individual falls.
             113          (6) If the district intends to not renew or discontinue the contract of a career employee or
             114      to terminate a career or provisional employee's contract during the contract term:
             115          (a) the district shall give written notice of the intent to the employee;
             116          (b) the notice shall be served by personal delivery or by certified mail addressed to the
             117      individual's last-known address as shown on the records of the district;
             118          (c) except as provided under Subsection (3)(b), the district shall give notice at least 15 days
             119      prior to the proposed date of termination;
             120          (d) the notice shall state the date of termination and the detailed reasons for termination;

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Senate Committee Amendments 2-25-2002 sm/dsl
             122          (e) the notice shall advise the individual that he has a right to a fair hearing; and
             123          (f) the notice shall state that failure of the employee to request a hearing in accordance
             124      with procedures set forth in the notice constitutes a waiver of that right and that the district may
             125      then proceed with termination without further notice.
             126          (7) The procedure under which a contract is terminated during its term may include a
             127      provision under which the active service of the employee is suspended pending a hearing if it
             128      appears that the continued employment of the individual may be harmful to students or to the
             129      district.
             130          (8) (a) Suspension pending a hearing may be without pay if an authorized representative
             131      of the district determines, after providing the employee with an opportunity for an informal
             132      conference to discuss the allegations, that it is more likely than not that the allegations against the
             133      employee are true and will result in termination.
             134          (b) If termination is not subsequently ordered, the employee shall receive back pay for the
             135      period of suspension without pay.
             136          (9) The procedure shall provide for a written notice of suspension or final termination
             137      including findings of fact upon which the action is based if the suspension or termination is for
             138      cause.
             139          Section 5. Section 53A-8-106 is amended to read:
             140           53A-8-106. Career employee status for provisional employees.
             141          (1) S [ (a) ] s A provisional employee must work for a school district on at least a half-time
             141a      basis
             142      for three consecutive years to obtain career employee status.
             143           S [ (b) Provisional status of an individual employee may be extended an additional year if the
             144      school district gives written notice of its election to extend provisional status to that employee
             145      prior to the end of the school year.
] s

             146          (2) Policies of an employing school district shall determine the status of a career employee
             147      in the event of the following:
             148          (a) the employee accepts a position which is substantially different from the position in
             149      which career status was achieved; or
             150          (b) the employee accepts employment in another school district.
             151          (3) If an employee who is under an order of probation or remediation in one assignment

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     in a school district is transferred or given a new assignment in the district, the order shall stand
             153      until its provisions are satisfied.
             154          (4) An employee who is given extra duty assignments in addition to a primary assignment,
             155      such as a teacher who also serves as a coach or activity advisor, is a temporary employee in those
             156      extra duty assignments and may not acquire career status beyond the primary assignment.

Legislative Review Note
    as of 1-23-02 1:20 PM

A limited legal review of this legislation raises no obvious constitutional or statutory concerns.

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel

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