5280 Separation from Employment

  • Under Washington law, the superintendent has the authority to issue an appropriate notice of probable cause for discharge or nonrenewal to any certificated staff member. The board will consider the notice of probable cause for a certificated staff member, or the superintendent’s recommendation regarding the discharge of a classified staff member, and render a decision regarding the discharge or nonrenewal. A notice of discharge will include notice of any appeal rights the employee may have and notice of the appeal processes. 

    1. Certificated Staff Member Release from Contract

      Upon request, a certificated staff member may be released from contract under the following conditions:

      1.  A letter requesting release will be submitted to the superintendent's office. If accepted by the board, the staff member may be released from contract.
      2.  A release from contract may be granted by the board to allow a staff member to accept another position prior to or during the school year provided a satisfactory replacement can be obtained.
      3.  A release from contract may be granted by the board in case of illness or other personal matters which make it a substantial hardship for the staff member to continue their employment in the district.
      4.  Each request will be reviewed and a decision rendered based on the totality of the circumstances. The needs of the district and continuity of the educational program offered to students will receive primary consideration in the board's decision.

    2. Resignation

      In order to permit proper staff planning and to minimize inconvenience to others who may be affected, certificated staff who plan to resign at the end of their contract period are requested to notify the superintendent of their resignation or retirement by May 1.

      Those staff who are not contractually obligated to complete the current school year should notify the superintendent as early as possible of their intent to resign and no less than 30 days prior to their last working day.

    3. Retirement

      Staff will participate in the retirement programs under the Federal Social Security Act and the Washington State Teachers' Retirement System or the Public Employees' Retirement System. Payroll deductions will be made and paid into the respective retirement programs in the manner prescribed by law.

      Staff who become eligible to retire under the controlling retirement system and who intend to retire at the end of the current school year should notify the superintendent prior to May 1st of that year.

      Those staff intending to retire who are not contractually obligated to complete the current school year should notify the superintendent as early as possible and no less than 30 days prior to their retirement date.

    4. Program and Staff Reductions

      The board of directors determines the educational and operational programs for the district. Program and staff reductions may be required as a result of many factors, including but not limited to enrollment decline, programmic needs or interests, a change in staffing needs, failure of a special levy election or other events resulting in reduction in revenue, increase in costs, and/or termination or reduction of funding of categorically-funded projects. The board will review appropriate information and based on administrative recommendations, identify those educational programs and services which will be reduced, modified or eliminated. 

    Cross References:
    Board Policy 5006         Certification Revocation
    Board Policy 5240         Evaluation of Staff
    Board Policy 5281         Disciplinary Action and Discharge

    Legal References:
    RCW 28A.400.300         Hiring and Discharging Employees – Written leave policies – Seniority and leave benefits, retention upon employees transferring between school districts and other educational employers
    RCW 28A.400.320         Mandatory termination of classified employees – Appeal – Recovery of salary or compensation by district
    RCW 28A.400.340         Notice of discharge to contain notice of right to appeal if available
    RCW 28A.405.100         Minimum criteria for the evaluation of certificated employees – Revised four-level evaluation systems for classroom teachers and principals – procedures – Steering committee – Models – Implementation – Reports
    RCW 28A.405.140         Assistance for teacher may be required after evaluation
    RCW 28A.405.210         Conditions and Contracts of employment – determination of probable cause for non-renewal of contracts – Nonrenewal due to enrollment decline or revenue loss – Notice – Opportunity for hearing
    RCW 28A.405.220         Conditions and contracts of employment –Non-renewal of provisional employees – Notice – Procedure
    RCW 28A.405.300         Adverse change in contract status of certificated employee – Determination of probable cause – Notice – Opportunity for hearing
    RCW 28A.405.310         Adverse change in contract status of certificated employee, including non-renewal of contract – Hearings – Procedure
    RCW 28A.405.470         Crimes against children – Mandatory termination of certified employees – Appeal – Recovery of salary or compensation by district
    RCW 28A.410.090         Revocation of authority to teach – Criminal basis – Complaints – Investigation – Process
    RCW 41.32.240               Membership in system
    RCW 41.33.020(6)         Terms and provisions of plan
    RCW 41.40.023               Membership
    RCW 41.41                        State Employees' Retirement – Federal Social Security
    WAC 181-86                      Policies and procedures for administration of certification proceedings
    WAC 181-87                      Acts of Unprofessional Conduct
    WAC 392-191                    School Personnel – Evaluation of the Professional Performance Capabilities

    Management Resources:
    Policy and Legal News    Feb. 2013; Feb. 2014; Dec. 2015

    ADOPTED: 07/23/1996
    REVISED: 06/27/98 09/24/98; 07/26/07; 06/25/13; 03/24/14

    Procedure No. 5280P Separation from Employment

    Probation and Non-Renewal or Termination

    Non-provisional Certificated Staff

    Non-provisional certificated staff whose performance does not meet minimum requirements based upon the specific categories for evaluation as defined in Policy 5240, Evaluation of Staff, will receive written notice any time after October 15th. The administration will exercise the following steps:

    Evaluator’s Report

    When an evaluator determines, based on evaluations that the performance of a staff member does not meet minimum requirements, the evaluator will report the same in writing to the superintendent. The report will include the following:

    • The evaluation report; and
    • A specific and reasonable plan for improvement.

    Establishment of Probationary Period

    If the superintendent concurs with the administrator that the staff member's performance does not meet minimum requirements, the superin­tendent will place the staff member in a probationary status any time after October 15th, and for a period of sixty school days the staff member will receive written notice of the action which will contain the following information:

    • The specific area(s) of deficiency;
    • A specific and reasonable plan for improvement which gives the staff member the opportunity to demonstrate improvement in any area(s) of deficiency; and
    • The duration of the probationary period;

    Evaluation during the Probationary Period

    • During the period of probation, the probationer may not be transferred from the supervision of the original evaluator. The original evaluator must document any improvement of performance or probable cause for non-renewal before any consideration of a request for transfer or reassignment contemplated by either the probationer or the district can occur.
    • During the probationary period the evaluator will meet at least twice monthly with the probationer to determine progress made and make a written evaluation.
    • The evaluator may authorize one additional certificated staff member to evaluate the probationer and aid them in improving their area of deficiency. Should the evaluator not authorize an additional evaluator, the probationer may request that one additional certificated employee evaluator participate in the probation process. The request must be implemented by including an additional experienced evaluator assigned by the educational service district in which the school district is located.  Such additional certificated staff members will be immune from civil liability incurred or imposed during an otherwise good faith performance of an evaluation.
    • The probationer will be removed from probation if they have demonstrated improvement to the satisfaction of the evaluator in the specific area(s) detailed in the notice of deficiency and in the program for improvement.

    Administrator's Post‑Probationary Report

    At the end of the probationary period the evaluator will submit a written report to the superintendent. The report will identify any improvement in the area of deficiency and will specify that the certificated staff member has or has not demonstrated sufficient improvement in the stated area of deficiency to justify removal from probationary status.

    Action by the Superintendent

    • Immediately after the superintendent determines that the completed probationary period did not produce the performance changes detailed in the initial notice of deficiencies and improvement program, the certificated staff member may be removed from their assignment and placed in alternative assignment for the remainder of the school year. The reassignment may not displace another employee or adversely affect the probationary employee’s compensation or benefits during the balance of the contract year.  If such a reassignment is not possible, the superintendent may place the employee on paid leave for the balance of the contract term.
    • Prior to May 15th, when the superintendent has determined that the employee has not demonstrated sufficient improvement in the stated area of deficiency, the superintendent will make a determination of probable cause for non-renewal of the staff member's contract and will provide written notice to the staff member by May 15 or June 15 if the omnibus appropriations act has not passed the legislature by May 15. Such notice will contain notice of any appeal rights the staff member may have and notice of the appeal processes.
    • Any non-provisional certificated staff member so notified will be granted an opportunity for a hearing to determine whether or not there is sufficient cause(s) for non-renewal. The hearing may be “open” or “closed” depending on the wish of the staff member. Selection of the hearing officer and conduct of the hearing will be in accordance with RCW 28A.405.310. Should the hearing officer's decision uphold the district's non-renewal action, the certificated staff member may appeal to the superior court (RCW 28A.405.320).
    • Any certificated staff member who does not request a hearing will be adversely affected as specified in the written notice.

    Provisional Employees

    • Provisional employees whose performance does not meet minimum requirements as defined in Policy 5240, Evaluation of Staff, will receive written notice from the superintendent by May 15, or June 15 if the omnibus appropriations act has not passed the legislature by May 15, that the district does not intend to renew the employment contract. Such notice will cite the reason for such determination and will contain notice of any appeal rights that the employee may have and notice of the appeal processes.
    • Within 10 days of receiving such notice the provisional employee may request (in writing) the opportunity to hold an informal meeting with the superintendent. The superintendent will submit their recommenda­tion for non-renewal to the board (RCW 28A.405.220). The provisional employee will be notified in writing of the superintendent's decision at least three days prior to a meeting of the board. The board will consider any written communication prior to rendering a decision.
    • The board will notify the provisional employee of its decision within 10 days following the meeting. Such decision will be considered final.
    • Any provisional employee who does not request an informal meeting will be adversely affected as specified in the written notice.

    Classified Staff

    Classified staff whose performance does not satisfy the needs of the district will receive written notification from the administrator. Such written notice will contain the following information:

    • Subject to the action of the board of directors, the final date of employment with the district;
    • The right to request a pre-termination meeting within five (5) working days following notice; and
    • Notice of any appeal rights that the employee may have and notice of the appeal processes.

    At the pre-termination meeting, the staff member will be entitled to be advised as to the reason(s) why the month‑to‑month employment agree­ment is being terminated and an opportunity to respond to any of the reasons presented. Upon the request of the staff member who is being recommended for termination, the board will meet with the staff member to determine if termination action will be taken.

    Reduction in Force Administrative Procedures

    This reduction in force policy is prepared with special consideration to the size of the school district and the fact that both staff and program offerings are substantially more limited than is the case in larger school districts within the state of Washington.

    The following administrative procedures will be used to implement the policy set forth above:

    Guidelines for reduction in programs and services:

    • In its efforts to provide an educational program within the district's financial resources, the Board will, as much as practica­ble, make reductions in expenditures such as: travel, supplies, and materials and equipment before the reduction in staff.
    • If the educational program and services of the school district must be reduced due to a reduction in state basic education funds and/or drop in enrollment, legislative or Superintendent of Public Instruction actions, or other legitimate reasons, the following guidelines will be taken into consideration in determining the program and services to be retained, reduced or eliminated:
    • The program to be retained will attempt to minimize the consequences of program reductions upon the student;
    • Health and safety standards will be maintained;
    • Priority will be given to those books and supplies used by students in fulfilling basic classroom objectives; and
    • When revenues are categorical and depend upon actual expenditures rather than budgeted amounts, every effort will be made to maintain these programs to the limit of the categorical support.

    Certificated staff reduction:

    In the event that it is necessary to reduce the number of certificated employees pursuant to the provi­sions hereof, those certificated employees who will be retained to implement the district's reduced or modified program and those certificated employees who will be terminated from employment will be identified by using the following procedures.

    • Determination of vacant position: By May 15 or June 1 if the omnibus appropriations act has not passed the legislature by May 15, of each year the district will determine, as accurately as possible, the total number of certificated staff to be retained. The following reasons for leaving the district will be taken into consideration: retirement, family transfer, normal resignations, discharge or non-renewal;

    • Certification: Possession of a valid Washington state teaching certificate which may be required for the position(s) under consideration will be a prerequisite for retention;

    • Retention by employee: Certificated staff member will, in accordance with the criteria set forth below, be considered for retention in any grade level in which actual teaching experience has been gained. For the purposes of this paragraph, actual teaching experience, will mean teaching that grade level full time for at least one (1) full year. Experience in combination grade teaching will also be considered; and

    • Selection for retention: Certificated employees will be considered for retention in available positions within their grade level for which they qualify.

    • Provisional employee: Those employees who are provisional, as that term is used in RCW 28A.405.220 will be released first;

    • Academic progress: Consideration will be given for post graduate credits earned beyond the BA; and

    • Years of experience: Years of actual full-time classroom teaching experience recognized by the state will be given consideration.

    • Evaluation results: Beginning with the 2015-16 school year, evaluation results for certificated classroom teachers, certificated principals and assistant principals must be used as one of multiple factors in making human resource and personnel decisions.  Human resource decisions include but are not limited to: employee assignment, including the consideration of an agreement to an assignment by an appropriate teacher, principal and superintendent and reduction in force.  The district will not be limited in its ability to collectively bargain how the multiple factors will be used in making human resource and personnel decisions, but the evaluation results must be a factor. 
    • Affirmative action:
      Affirmative action principles will be considered in implementing the reduction in staff. 
    • Action by Board:
      Recommendations for certificated staff reduction developed in accordance with these procedures will be presented to the board prior to May 15 or June 15 if the omnibus appropriations act has not passed the legislature by May 15 for further action by the board. 
    • Employment pool:
      Those certificated employees released under the reduction in force program will be placed in an employment pool for a period of one (1) year. In the event a vacancy occurs, those certificated employees in the employment pool, will be rehired in the order in which they entered the pool if qualified, in accordance with the provisions of the above policy. Any employee released under the reduction in force program will, in writing, keep the superintendent advised of their current address and availability for reemployment. Notice of vacancies will be mailed to their last known address. Employees in the employment pool may participate in group insurance plans for a period of one (1) year, if the carrier so agrees. The district will not contribute premiums for such employees.

    ADOPTED: 07/23/1996
    REVISED: 10/23/97; 09/24/98; 06/25/13; 04/24/14
    RETAINED AFTER MODEL DELETED:  3/24/16

5000 Policies