Revised: 10-18-05, 3-8-06, 8-11-10, 3-14-18
The South Sanpete Board of Education believes that the establishment of standards and procedures which define and protect the rights of employees with respect to suspension or termination of employment under various circumstances is in the best interest of educators and administrators. These standards and procedures are established in accordance with the “Utah Orderly School Termination Procedures Act” found in Utah Code 53A8 (101-107) which authorizes the local Board of Education to establish procedures for the dismissal of employees in an orderly manner without discrimination.
The purpose and intent of this Orderly Termination Policy is to do the following:
- Promote and maintain a high level of acceptable professional behavior on the part of all employees, with the ultimate goal of creating the most productive working climate for employees and the best possible learning environment for students.
- Correct remedial or substandard performance on the part of employees and, in those instances where such conduct is irremediable, pursue steps required for the orderly dismissal of such employee. Utah Code 53A 8 (104).
- Provide a meaningful level of communication with educators by which employees will know what is expected of them, to provide remediation where possible in those cases where it is needed, and to provide a process for discipline and discharge when that becomes necessary.
- Assure consistent application of rules, notifications of substandard work and ways it can be corrected, careful investigation of facts, open dialogue to give both sides an opportunity to state respective positions, meet the regulations of due process, and provide a level of discipline that is consistent with the level of the alleged infraction.
For purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply:
1. Career Employee
An employee of the District who has obtained a reasonable expectation of continued employment is a “Career Employee.” An employee who works for the District on at least a half-time basis becomes a career employee upon the successful completion of at least three full consecutive academic school years with the District as a provisional employee. The District may extend the three-year provisional status of an employee up to an additional two consecutive years. If the provisional employee starts after the beginning of the school year, he or she must successfully complete that school year plus at least three other full academic years before he or she becomes a career employee. Successful completion is determined by performance of all contractual duties within standards acceptable to the District. Utah Code 53A-8-102 (2009) ; Utah Code 53A-8-106 (2010)
2, Provisional Employee
Any employee who has not achieved career employee status is a “Provisional Employee.” A provisional employee is an employee, who works for the District on at least a half-time basis for a minimum of three full years, hired on an individual, one-year contract and who is not a temporary employee. Provisional employees have no expectation of continued employment beyond the current one-year contract term and are not entitled to due process if their contract is not renewed. Provisional employees are employed at will and their employment can be terminated at the discretion of the Board of Education except that provisional employees can be discharged during the term of each contract only for cause. The District is not required to provide a cause for not offering a contract to provisional employees; however, a cause may be offered for not granting tenure after the third or fourth year. The District may extend the provisional status of an employee up to an additional two consecutive years by written notification to the provisional employee no later than thirty (30)days before the end of the contract term of that individual. Circumstances under which an employee's provisional status may be extended include: (1) unacceptable scores on a performance evaluation; (2) receipt of complaint(s) or expression(s) of concern from parents, co-workers, or members of the community that creates uncertainty about the employee’s professionalism, performance, or character; (3) change in teaching assignment or duties; (4) the discontinuance or substantial reduction of a particular service, budget, program or declining enrollment; (5) other extenuating circumstances as identified by the principal or District administration. Utah Code 53A-8-102 (2009) ; Utah Code 53A-8-106 (2010); HB 42 (2010); HB 50 (2011); 53A-8-104 (2011).
3. Classified Employee
Classified Employees are non-certified employees. Classified employees who work less than 29.5 hrs/week serve at will and have no expectation of continued employment beyond one year.
4. Temporary Employee
Temporary employees are classified employees employed on a temporary basis (29.5 hours/week or less). Temporary employees also include those seasonal employees who are employed for less than the full academic year. An appointment of a temporary employee may not be for a period of time greater than one year. Temporary employees are employed at the will of the Board and have no expectation of continued employment and their employment may be terminated at any time without cause and without due process. Temporary employees are not career employees or provisional employees as defined by Utah Code 53A-8-102 Utah Code § 53A-8a-102(10) (2017) and the policies of this District.
5. Contracted Service Providers
Contracted Service Providers are individuals regardless of employment status (full or part-time) who by nature of their profession are not required to hold a professional certificate issued by the Utah State Board of Education. They are paid by contract to provide specific types of services for the District, but who are not employees, are not on the District payroll, and do not receive the same benefits enjoyed by regular employees of the District.
6. Extra-Duty Contracts
An employee who is hired to coach athletics or to help with clubs or other extracurricular duties is an at-will employee and does not have an expectation of continued employment as coach/advisor or in the extracurricular position beyond the immediate school year or contract term. There are no rights to a due process proceeding if a person is released from coaching or an extra-duty position. A person may be released from a coaching or extracurricular position at the discretion of the Board.
a. A person, other than the District superintendent or business administrator, who is a career or provisional employee of the District.
Utah Code § 53A-8a-102(5)(a) (2017)
8. Dismissal or Termination
An employee shall be deemed to be discharged upon occurrence of any of the following events:
A. Termination of the status of employment of an employee.
B. Failure to renew the employment contract of a career employee.
C. Reduction in salary of an employee not generally applied to all employees of the same category employed by the District during the employee’s contract term. Change of
assignment of an employee with an accompanying reduction in pay unless the assignment change and salary reduction are agreed to in writing. Utah Code § 53A-8a-102(4) (2017)
9. Unsatisfactory Performance
a. Deficiency in performing work tasks which may be:
i. due to insufficient or undeveloped skills or a lack of knowledge or aptitude; and
ii. remediated through training, study, mentoring, or practice.
b. Does not include the following conduct that is designated as a cause for termination or a reason for license discipline:
i. a violation of work rules;
ii. a violation of local school board policies, State Board of Education rules, or law;
iii. a violation of standards of ethical, moral, or professional conduct; or
Utah Code § 53A-8a-102(11) (2017)
The South Sanpete Board of Education retains its right to discipline or terminate the employment of any employee at any time for any lawful reason, upon showing just cause. This Policy may apply to all employees of the District, including certified, classified, and administrative personnel, and apply to all job-related activities of such employees. It is also the Policy of the South Sanpete Board of Education to comply with the standards of the current Orderly Termination Procedures as outlined in Utah Code 53A 8 101-107.
Causes for Dismissal or Non-Renewal—
Any employee may be suspended or discharged during a contract term for any of the following:
- Insubordination or failure to comply with directives from supervisors;
- Incompetence or willful neglect of duty;
- Conviction, including entering a plea of guilty or nolo contendere (no contest), of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude;
- Corporal punishment of students or conduct which may be harmful to students or exposes the District to ridicule or damage;
- Improper or unlawful physical contact (sexual or physical abuse) of students;
- Violation of District policy;
- Unprofessional conduct not characteristic of or befitting a District employee;
- Manufacturing, possessing, using, dispensing distributing, selling and/or engaging in any transaction or action to facilitate the use, dispersal or distribution of any illicit (as opposed to authorized) drugs or alcohol on District premises or as a party of any District activity;
- Current addiction to or dependency on a narcotic or other controlled substance;
- Dishonesty or falsification of any information supplied to the District; including data on application forms; employment records or other information given to the District;
- Engagement in sexual harassment of a student or employee of the District;
- Neglect of duty, including unexcused absences, excessive tardiness, excessive absences, and abuse of leave policies or failure to maintain certification;
- Deficiencies pointed out as part of any appraisal or evaluation;
- Failure to fulfill duties or responsibilities;
- Inability to maintain discipline in the classroom or at assigned school-related functions;
- Drunkenness or excessive use of alcoholic beverages or controlled substances;
- Disability not otherwise protected by law that impairs performance of required job duties;
- Failure to maintain an effective working relationship, or to maintain good rapport with parents, co-workers, the community or colleges;
- Failure to maintain requirements for licensure and certification or having license or certification suspended or revoked by UPPAC;
- Unsatisfactory compliance with terms of probation; and
- For any other reason justifying termination of employment for cause.
Termination for Unsatisfactory Performance—
If a Career employee is terminated due to unsatisfactory performance or conduct it must be documented in at least two evaluations at any time in the preceding three (3) years in accordance with District policies or practices. Such evaluations may be conducted at any time that is reasonable to assess the employee’s performance in addition to the annual evaluations of all teachers. Utah Code 53A-8-104 (2); 53A-9-104 (6); and 53A-10-106 (2)(b)
When an employee is involved in improper conduct or behavior such as listed in items 1-22, the District may elect to proceed with disciplinary actions against the employee. The disciplinary actions may range from a verbal warning to the employee that his/her conduct places the employee in danger of termination during the contract term; or may elect to exclude any or all of the following steps and proceed directly to termination or dismissal for cause. The school and District administration shall follow proper documentation, procedure, and due process at respective levels in handling these disciplinary actions in accordance with the Utah Orderly Termination Procedures Act as found in Utah Code 53A-8-(101-106).Verbal Warning:
- A Verbal Warning may be issued by an immediate school or District administrator or supervisor and shall be stated clearly and shall tell the employee that the specific conduct in question is unacceptable. As a matter of record, the administrator or supervisor giving the Verbal Warning shall document it and shall include the date of the warning, specify the improper conduct, the date it occurred, and identify any corrective action or assistance which may have been offered.
- Written Reprimand:
A Written Reprimand may or may not occur after a verbal warning. It shall be written by an immediate school or District administrator or supervisor and shall clearly state that this is a “Written Reprimand.” It shall include the date(s) of the improper conduct, a full description of the improper conduct, corrective action(s), and the nature of assistance available, including an informal due process conference. The reprimand shall be forwarded to the Superintendent to be placed in the employee’s personnel file and a copy given to the employee. The employee may make a written response to all or any part of the reprimand. The employee’s written response shall be attached to the reprimand. Based upon recommendations from the Superintendent, a letter of reprimand may be removed from an employee’s file after conditions have been met.
The District may elect, but is not required to place an employee on probation for misconduct which could be grounds of termination during the contract year.
The employee may be placed on probation only by the Superintendent, the Board of Education, or a designee and may occur in the following instances:
- The matter is sufficiently serious to warrant the initiation of disciplinary action at this level;
- Previous disciplinary actions, warnings, reprimands, or evaluations did not result in correction of the improper conduct or performance; or
- Dismissal, or the possibility of it, may appear necessary, and it is determine to be in the best interest of the District that the employee be given one last chance to remedy the existing problem under specific terms of probation. The District is responsible for determining the length and terms of the probation.
- Suspension With or Without Pay:
The Board/Superintendent or designee shall be responsible for determining whether the suspension is to be with or without pay as outlined in Utah Code 53A-8-104 (7-9). Suspension with or without pay shall be administered only by the Superintendent and may occur in the following instances:
- The misconduct is sufficiently serious as determined by the Superintendent to warrant the initiation of disciplinary action at this level without prior disciplinary action;
- In those cases where previous warnings were given and found to be ineffective to cause correction of the improper conduct;
- Remediation efforts have failed in those cases where such efforts were attempted;
- The nature of the improper conduct is such that dismissal may appear to be the only solution to the problem; or
- Suspension may, among other reasons, be invoked by the District when further investigation is deemed necessary or desirable in order to make an informed decision concerning the employment of an employee or for the purpose of awaiting the outcome of criminal charges pending against an employee. Furthermore, the fact that pending criminal charges against an employee may be resolved in favor of the employee shall not preclude the District from initiating termination for cause proceedings or other disciplinary action against the teacher based all or in part upon the same facts which gave rise to the criminal charges.
- Termination for Unsatisfactory Performance
If a career employee is terminated due to unsatisfactory performance, the unsatisfactory performance must be documented in at least two evaluations at any time in the preceding three (3) years in accordance with District policies or practices. Such evaluations may be conducted at any time that is reasonable to assess the employee’s performance. Utah Code 53A-8-104(2) (2007)
Procedural Due Process—
- Notice to Career Employee of Unsatisfactory Performance:
If the District intends not to renew the contract of a career employee for reasons of unsatisfactory performance it shall:
- Notify a career employee at least thirty (30) working days prior to issuing a notice of intent not to renew the employee’s contract that continued employment is in question and the reasons for anticipated non-renewal;
- Provide to the career employee thirty (30) working days in which to correct the problem;
- The Board may in its discretion, grant the career employee assistance to correct the deficiencies, including informal conferences and the services of school personnel within the District;
- Nothing in this Policy shall be construed to require compliance with or completion of evaluations prior to non-renewal of a career employee’s contract. Utah Code 53A-8-104(2) (2007)
- Notice of Intent not to Renew Contract of Career Employee
If the District intends not to renew the contract of employment of a career employee after giving notice that continued employment is in question, it shall:
- Give notice that a contract of employment will not be offered for the following school year to the individual.
- Issue notice at least thirty (30) working days before the end of the contract term of the individual.
- Serve notice by personal delivery or certified mail to the employee’s most recent address shown on the district’s personnel records.
- Notice of Intent to Terminate Employment during Term of Contract
If the District intends to terminate an employee’s contract during the contract term, the District shall:
- Give written notice of that intent to the employee;
- Serve the notice by personal delivery or by certified mail addressed to the individual’s last known address.
- Serve the notice at least thirty (30) working days prior to the proposed date of termination;
- State the date of termination and detailed reasons for termination.
- Give notice of the individual’s right to appeal the decision to terminate employment and the right to a proceeding and the right to legal counsel, to present evidence, cross-examine witnesses and present arguments at the proceeding.
- Notify the employee that failure to request a hearing proceeding within fifteen (15) working days after the notice of termination was either personally delivered or mailed to the employee’s most recent address shown on the district’s personnel records shall constitute a waiver of the right to contest the decision to terminate. Utah Code 53A-8-104 (2007)
- Notice of Intent Not to Offer a Contract to a Provisional Employee
If the District intends not to offer a contract of employment for the succeeding school year to a provisional employee, it shall give notice at least sixty (60) working days before the end of the provisional employee’s contract term that the employee will not be offered a contract for a following term of employment. The District is not required to provide a cause for not offering a contract to provisional employees. Because provisional employees do not have an expectation of continued employment, they do not have a right to grieve the decision not to renew employment and do not have a right to a proceeding. Utah Code 53A-8-104(4) (2007) and HB 50 (2011)
- Notice of Intent to Terminate or Not Offer a Contract to a Temporary Employee
Temporary employees will be given notice of a minimum of ten (10) working days of the termination of their employment. Because temporary employees do not have an expectation of continued employment, they do not have a right to grieve the decision to terminate or not to extend employment and do not have a right to a proceeding.
- Expectation of Continued Employment in Absence of Notice
In the absence of a notice, a career or provisional employee is considered employed for the next contract term with a salary based upon the salary schedule applicable to the class of employees into which the individual falls. This provision does not preclude the dismissal of a career or provisional employee during the contract term for cause. Utah Code 53A-8-104(5) (2007)
- Right to an Informal Conference
A notice of intention not to renew the contract of a career employee or of an intention to terminate the contract of a career or provisional employee during its term must advise the individual that he or she may request an informal conference before the Superintendent or Superintendent's designee. The request for an informal conference must be made in writing and delivered to the Superintendent's within ten (10) working days of the date on the notice of intention not to renew or notice of termination during the contract term. The informal conference will be held as soon as is practicable. Suspension pending a conference may be without pay if the Superintendent or a designee determines after the informal conference, or after the employee had an opportunity to have an informal conference, that it is likely that the reasons for cause will result in termination.
- Employee’s Right to a Proceeding
A notice of intention not to renew the contract of a career employee or of an intention to terminate the contract of a career or provisional employee during its term must also advise the individual that if after the informal conference the employee wishes a proceeding on the matter, he or she must submit written notice to that effect to the Superintendent’s office within five (5) working days of the informal conference. If the employee wishes to not have an informal conference, but does wish to have a proceeding, he or she must submit written notice to that effect within fifteen (15) working days of the date on the notice of intent not to renew or notice of termination during the contract term. Upon timely receipt of the notice, the Superintendent will notify the Board, which will then either appoint a examiner, or proceeding board or determine to hear the matter itself. In either case, the Board will then send notice of the date, time and place of proceeding to the Superintendent and to the employee. If the employee does not request a proceeding within fifteen (15) working days, then the employee shall have waived any right to a proceeding and to contest the decision.
- Appointing a Proceeding Examiner
If the Board of Education determines that the proceeding shall be conducted by a proceeding examiner or board, it shall so advise the Superintendent to appoint a board of three District administrators who have no substantial knowledge of the facts of the case or select an independent proceeding examiner.
In so appointing a proceeding examiner or proceeding board, the Board of Education may delegate its authority to the examiner or board to make findings and decisions relating to the employment of the employee that are binding upon both the employee and the Board of Education. In the absence of an express delegation, the Board retains the right to make its own decision based on the factual findings of the examiner. Utah Code 53A-8-105 (2007)
- Rights of Employee at a Proceeding
At the proceeding, the employee and administration each have right to counsel, to produce witnesses, to hear testimony, to cross-examine witnesses, and to examine documentary evidence. Utah Code 53A-8-105 (2007)
Within fifteen (15) working days after the proceeding, the person or entity that conducted the proceeding, whether the examiner, board, or Board of Education, shall issue written findings and conclusions deciding the matter. These shall be provided to the employee by mail or personal delivery.
In the event the decision of the board or examiner is to not terminate the employment of the employee, then the employee shall be reinstated and back pay shall be paid if the employee was suspended without pay pending a proceeding.
- Suspension During Investigation
The active service of an employee may be suspended by the Superintendent pending a proceeding if it appears that the continued employment of the individual may be harmful to students or to the District. The employee shall be provided written notice of the suspension, which may be included with written notice of termination of employment during the contract term or notice of non-renewal of contract. Utah Code 53A-8-104(7) (2007)
Necessary Staff Reduction Not Precluded—
Nothing in this Policy prevents staff reduction if necessary to reduce the number of employees because of the following:
- declining student enrollments in the district;
- the discontinuance or substantial reduction of a particular service or program;
- the shortage of anticipated revenue after the budget has been adopted; or
- school consolidation.
Utah Code 53A-8-104 (2007)
Dissemination of Policy—
A copy of this Policy shall be posted in the Policy Section of the District’s web site. It is the employee’s responsibility to read and review this Policy as needed.
No Verbal Agreements—
It is the Policy of the District that all agreements with employees must be written; there are no verbal agreements because all agreements must be approved by the Board of Education. Only the Board of Education has authority to hire and fire unless such authority has been expressly delegated in writing.