General Statement of Policy

  • General Statement of Policy
     
                Under South Carolina law, the Board is responsible for maintaining good public elementary and secondary schools.  The   Board is also responsible for implementing the educational interests of the state.  The Board’s primary consideration is the maintenance of a sound and balanced educational program that is consistent with the functions and responsibilities of the school district.  The Board recognizes, however, that it may become necessary to eliminate certified staff positions in certain circumstances.  Therefore, the Board publishes this policy to provide a fair and orderly process should such eliminations become necessary.

Professional Personnel Reduction in Force

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      Reasons for Elimination of Certified Staff Positions
                The Board has the sole and exclusive prerogative to eliminate certified staff positions consistent with the provisions of state statutes.  This elimination should not result in a failure in its duty to implement the educational interests of the state and to provide good public elementary and secondary schools.
                The Board may find it necessary to eliminate certified staff positions because of decreases in student enrollment, changes in curriculum, financial exigency or other circumstances as determined by the Board.
     Definitions (as used in this policy)
                 A.        “Days” means calendar days.
                B.        “Teacher” means any employee of the district who holds a certificate issued by the South Carolina State Department of Education and is employed in a teaching or administrative position below the rank of superintendent.
                C.        “Financial exigency” means any significant decline in the district’s financial resources that is brought about by the decline in enrollment or by other actions or events that compel a reduction in the school’s current operations budget.
                D.        “Change in curriculum” means any elimination, curtailment or reorganization of curriculum offering, program or school operation or a reorganization or consolidation of two or more individual schools that is unrelated to financial exigency.
    Procedure
                A.        Before it begins action to not renew teacher contracts under this procedure, the Board will consider its ability to eliminate positions and/or reduce staff by:
     
                            1.         Voluntary retirement
                            2.         Voluntary resignation
                            3.         Transfer of existing staff members
                            4.         Voluntary leaves of absence
                            5.         Salary reductions
                            6.         Part-time employment
                B.         In the event further reduction is required, the Board will adhere to the following guidelines:
                            1. Reduction in force will be on a district-wide basis.  Therefore, the Superintendent is not limited to considering
                                for RIF termination only those teachers in a particular school, area or program in which the loss of enrollment,
                                program change or financial exigency has occurred.
     
                            2. Once the Board (after consulting with the Superintendent) has determined that a reason set forth in Section 2
                                exists which requires an elimination of certified staff positions, the Superintendent will, after considering the
                                possibilities set forth in Section 4 (A), determine which positions must be eliminated.  The Superintendent will
                                present his or her recommendations to the Board for approval.
     
                            3. Once the Board has approved the elimination of the specified positions or changes to be made in programs, the
                                Superintendent will use specified criteria to select those teachers who are to be considered for non-renewal. 
                                The Superintendent will make a recommendation to the Board based on the application of the following criteria
                                with appropriate point values as assigned to each set of criteria.
                a. Certification
                              5 points - fully certified, professional certificate
                              3 points - temporary/permit
                b. Service to the District - One point will be awarded for every year of service to the district
                    including the current year.  One additional point will be awarded for every 5 years of continuous
                    service to the district (Example:  15 years of service in district = 15 points + 3 points for 3 units of
                    5 = 18 points).
     
                c. Academic preparation - The following points will be awarded in each of the various levels
                    preparation:
                                                    Bachelor’s Degree................................    4 points
                                                    Bachelor’s Degree plus 18 hours...........    5 points
                                                    Master’s Degree..................................     6 points
                                                    Master’s Degree plus 30 hours..............    7 points
                                        Doctoral Degree..................................      8 points
                d. Length of Service (Both in and out of the district) - One point will be awarded for every 5 years
                    of teaching service as reflected on the certificate issued by the State Department of Education.
                e. Total years of teaching experience in public schools
                f. Qualifications and ability i.e. teaching experience in other areas which may be available, as
                    determined by the district evaluation procedure in light of needs of the district at the point in time
                    that Reduction in Force decisions are being made.
     
    Notice to Individual Teacher
                If, after considering the Superintendent’s recommendation, the Board acts to terminate employment of a teacher or teachers, the Board will give written notice of that decision to the affected teacher.  The Superintendent will send the written notice by certified mail, return receipt requested.  The notice will include a statement of the conditions requiring termination of employment.  Appropriate district staff will also make every attempt to contact the teacher in person to explain the situations and decisions.
                The District will assume that the teacher’s address as it appears on the school district record is the correct address.  It is the teacher’s responsibility to see that the district has his or her current address on file.
    Review of Individual Terminations
                A teacher may request a review of the Board action, provided such request is made within 10 calendar days after his or her receipt of the notice of termination.  The only purpose of the review will be to determine whether the decision to terminate was arbitrary or capricious or generated by ill-will, fraud, collusion or other such motives with respect to that individual.
                The request for review must be in writing and addressed to the chairperson of the Board.  The request must clearly state the grounds on which the teacher contends the decision was arbitrary or capricious or generated by ill-will, fraud, collusion or other such motives.  The request must include a short, plain statement of facts that the teacher believes supports the contention.
                The Board will hold a hearing within 30 calendar days after it receives the request.  The Board will give the teacher at least five days’ notice of the hearing.
                The Board will conduct the hearing informally, in public or in private as the teacher may wish.  The teacher and the Superintendent may each be accompanied by legal counsel.  The Board will consider only the evidence that is presented at the hearing.  The Board will only consider the evidence that it considers fair and reliable.  The Board members, teacher and superintendent may question all witnesses.
                Except as herein provided, the chairperson of the Board will control the hearing.
                The hearing will begin with the teacher’s presentation of contentions.  This presentation will be limited to those grounds specified in the request for a hearing and supported by such proof as he or she desires to offer.
                When the teacher concludes his or her presentation, the Board will consider whether the proof offered in support of the contention establishes the contention, unless it is not rebutted.  This consideration will take place in executive session.
                If the Board determines that the contention has not been established, it will notify the parties and conclude the hearing.  This action finally determines the decision to terminate.
               If the Board determines that rebuttal is desirable, it will notify the parties, and the hearing will proceed.  The Superintendent may then present, in rebuttal of the teacher’s contention or in general support of the decision to terminate, such testimonial or documentary proofs as he or she desires to offer, including his or her own testimony.
                After the Superintendent completes his or her presentation, the Board will consider the matter in executive session.  The burden is on the teacher to satisfy the Board by clear and convincing evidence that the decision to terminate was arbitrary or capricious, or generated by ill-will, fraud, collusion or other such motives.
                If the Board determines that the teacher did not establish his or her contention, it will, by a simple unelaborated statement so notify the teacher and the Superintendent.  Such a determination finally confirms the decision to terminate.  If the Board determines that the teacher’s contention has been established, it informs him and the Superintendent by a written notice that states what corrective action must be taken.
      Obligations with Respect to Re-employment or Other Employment
                A.       For two years after the effective date of a termination pursuant to this policy, the Board will not replace the teacher
                           whose employment has been terminated without first offering the position to the terminated teacher.  The Board
                           will make the offer by certified mail, return receipt requested.  The Board will notify the teacher that he or she must
                           submit written acceptance within 15 calendar days.  Failure to make written acceptance within 15 calendar days
                           or rejection of the position eliminates all re-employment rights of the teacher.
     
                B.       If the teacher is recalled within two years, the District will restore all of the sick leave and unused personal leave he
                           or she had accrued on the effective date of the layoff.
                           
                          If the teacher whose employment has been terminated requests assistance, the school district will give him
                          reasonable assistance in finding other employment.
      Exclusive RIF Procedure
                This RIF procedure is the only procedure that may be used in a reduction in force.  Any existing procedure for
                reconsidering or examining an employee discharge, non reappointment, or grievance is not available for considering an
                issue that arises from a reduction in force.  Similarly, no other personnel action other than a reduction in force may be
                considered under this RIF procedure.
     Policy GCQA/GCQB-RA, Issue Date 10/