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125.17 Teacher tenure act; cities of the first class; definitions.

Subdivision 1. Words, terms, and phrases. Unless the language or context clearly indicates that a different meaning is intended, the following words, terms, and phrases, for the purposes of the following subdivisions in this section shall be defined as follows:

(a) Teachers. The term "teacher" includes every person regularly employed, as a principal, or to give instruction in a classroom, or to superintend or supervise classroom instruction, or as placement teacher and visiting teacher. Persons regularly employed as counselors and school librarians shall be covered by these sections as teachers if licensed as teachers or as school librarians.

(b) School board. The term "school board" includes a majority in membership of any and all boards or official bodies having the care, management, or control over public schools.

(c) Demote. The word "demote" means to reduce in rank or to transfer to a lower branch of the service or to a position carrying a lower salary or compensation.

(d) Nonprovisional license. For purposes of this section, "nonprovisional license" shall mean an entrance, continuing, or life license.

Subd. 2. Probationary period; discharge or demotion. All teachers in the public schools in cities of the first class during the first three years of consecutive employment shall be deemed to be in a probationary period of employment during which period any annual contract with any teacher may, or may not, be renewed as the school board, after consulting with the peer review committee charged with evaluating the probationary teachers under subdivision 2a or 2b, shall see fit. The school site management team or the school board if there is no school site management team, shall adopt a plan for a written evaluation of teachers during the probationary period according to subdivision 2a. Evaluation by the peer review committee charged with evaluating probationary teachers under subdivision 2a shall occur at least three times each year for a teacher performing services on 120 or more school days, at least two times each year for a teacher performing services on 60 to 119 school days, and at least one time each year for a teacher performing services on fewer than 60 school days. Days devoted to parent-teacher conferences, teachers' workshops, and other staff development opportunities and days on which a teacher is absent from school shall not be included in determining the number of school days on which a teacher performs services. The school board may, during such probationary period, discharge or demote a teacher for any of the causes as specified in this code. A written statement of the cause of such discharge or demotion shall be given to the teacher by the school board at least 30 days before such removal or demotion shall become effective, and the teacher so notified shall have no right of appeal therefrom.

Subd. 2a. Repealed, 1993 c 224 art 12 s 32; 1993 c 374 s 22

Subd. 2b. Peer review for probationary teachers. A school board and an exclusive representative of the teachers in the district shall develop a probationary teacher peer review process through joint agreement.

Subd. 3. Period of service after probationary period; discharge or demotion. After the completion of such probationary period, without discharge, such teachers as are thereupon reemployed shall continue in service and hold their respective position during good behavior and efficient and competent service and shall not be discharged or demoted except for cause after a hearing.

Any probationary teacher shall be deemed to have been reemployed for the ensuing school year, unless the school board in charge of such school shall give such teacher notice in writing before June 1 of the termination of such employment. In event of such notice the employment shall terminate at the close of the school sessions of the current school year.

Subd. 3a. Repealed, 1993 c 224 art 12 s 32; 1993 c 374 s 22

Subd. 3b. Peer review for continuing contract teachers. A school board and an exclusive representative of the teachers in the district shall develop a peer review process for nonprobationary teachers through joint agreement.

Subd. 4. Grounds for discharge or demotion. Causes for the discharge or demotion of a teacher either during or after the probationary period shall be:

(1) Immoral character, conduct unbecoming a teacher, or insubordination;

(2) Failure without justifiable cause to teach without first securing the written release of the school board having the care, management, or control of the school in which the teacher is employed;

(3) Inefficiency in teaching or in the management of a school;

(4) Affliction with active tuberculosis or other communicable disease shall be considered as cause for removal or suspension while the teacher is suffering from such disability; or

(5) Discontinuance of position or lack of pupils.

For purposes of this subdivision, conduct unbecoming a teacher includes an unfair discriminatory practice described in section 363.03, subdivision 5.

Subd. 5. Hearing of charges against teacher. The charges against a teacher shall be in writing and signed by the person making the same and then filed with the secretary or clerk of the school board having charge of the school in which the teacher is employed. Such school board before discharging or demoting a teacher shall then accord the teacher against whom such charges have been filed a full hearing and give to the teacher at least ten days' notice in writing of the time and place of such hearing; such notice may be served personally or sent by certified mail addressed to such teacher at the teacher's last known post office address; provided, that if the charge be made by any person not in connection with the school system the charge may be disregarded by such school board. If the grounds are those specified in subdivision 4, clause (1), (2), (3), or (4), the notice must also state a teacher may request arbitration under subdivision 10a. Upon such hearing being held such school board or an arbitrator shall hear all evidence that may be adduced in support of the charges and for the teacher's defense thereto. Either party shall have the right to have a written record of the hearing at the expense of the board and to have witnesses subpoenaed and all witnesses so subpoenaed shall be examined under oath. Any member of the school board conducting such a hearing shall have authority to issue subpoenas and to administer oaths to witnesses.

Subd. 6. Counsel; examination of witnesses. Each party appearing before the school board shall have the right to be represented by counsel, and such counsel may examine and cross-examine witnesses and present arguments.

Subd. 7. Hearings. All hearings before the school board shall be private or may be public at the decision of the teacher against whom such charges have been filed.

Subd. 8. Decision, when rendered. Such hearing must be concluded and a decision in writing, stating the grounds on which it is based, rendered within 25 days after giving of such notice. Where the hearing is before a school board the teacher may be discharged or demoted upon the affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the school board. If the charges, or any of such, are found to be true, the school board conducting the hearing shall discharge, demote, or suspend the teacher, as seems to be for the best interest of the school. No teacher shall be discharged for either of the causes specified in subdivision 4, clause (3), except during the school year, and then only upon charges filed at least four months before the close of the school sessions of such school year.

Subd. 9. Charges expunged from records. In all cases where the final decision is in favor of the teacher the charge or charges shall be physically expunged from the records.

Subd. 10. Suspension pending hearing; salary. Upon the filing of charges against a teacher, the school board may suspend the teacher from regular duty. If, upon final decision, the teacher is suspended or removed, the school board may in its discretion determine the teacher's salary or compensation as of the time of filing the charges. If the final decision is favorable to the teacher there shall be no abatement of salary or compensation.

Subd. 10a. Hearing and determination by arbitrator. A teacher against whom charges have been filed alleging any cause for discharge or demotion specified in subdivision 4, clause (1), (2), (3), or (4), may elect a hearing before an arbitrator instead of the school board. The hearing is governed by this subdivision.

(a) The teacher must make a written request for a hearing before an arbitrator within ten days after receiving a written notice of the filing of charges required by subdivision 5. Failure to request a hearing before an arbitrator during this period is considered acquiescence to a hearing before the board.

(b) If the teacher and the school board are unable to mutually agree on an arbitrator, the school board shall request from the bureau of mediation services a list of five persons to serve as an arbitrator. If the teacher and the school board are unable to mutually agree on an arbitrator from the list provided, the parties shall alternately strike names from the list until the name of one arbitrator remains. The person remaining after the striking procedure shall be the arbitrator. If the parties are unable to agree on who shall strike the first name, the question must be decided by a flip of a coin. The teacher and the school board shall share equally the costs and fees of the arbitrator.

(c) The arbitrator shall determine, by a preponderance of the evidence, whether the causes specified in subdivision 4, clause (1), (2), (3), or (4), exist to support the proposed discharge or demotion. A lesser penalty than discharge or demotion may be imposed by the arbitrator only to the extent that either party proposes such lesser penalty in the proceeding. In making the determination, the arbitration proceeding is governed by sections 572.11 to 572.17 and by the collective bargaining agreement applicable to the teacher.

(d) An arbitration hearing conducted under this subdivision is a meeting for preliminary consideration of allegations or charges within the meaning of section 471.705, subdivision 1d, clause (c), and shall be closed, unless the teacher requests it to be open.

(e) The arbitrator's decision is final and binding on the parties, subject to sections 572.18 to 572.26.

Subd. 11. Services terminated by discontinuance or lack of pupils; preference given. (a) Any teacher whose services are terminated on account of discontinuance of position or lack of pupils shall receive first consideration for other positions in the district for which that teacher is qualified. In the event it becomes necessary to discontinue one or more positions, in making such discontinuance, teachers shall be discontinued in any department in the inverse order in which they were employed.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of clause (a), no teacher shall be entitled to exercise any seniority when that exercise results in that teacher being retained by the district in a field for which the teacher holds only a provisional license, as defined by the board of teaching, unless that exercise of seniority results in the termination of services, on account of discontinuance of position or lack of pupils, of another teacher who also holds a provisional license in the same field. The provisions of this clause shall not apply to vocational education licenses.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of clause (a), no teacher shall be reinstated to a position in a field in which the teacher holds only a provisional license, other than a vocational education license, while another teacher who holds a nonprovisional license in the same field is available for reinstatement.

Subd. 12. Records relating to individual teacher; access; expungement. All evaluations and files generated within a school district relating to each individual teacher shall be available to each individual teacher upon the teacher's written request. Effective January 1, 1976, all evaluations and files, wherever generated, relating to each individual teacher shall be available to each individual teacher upon the teacher's written request. The teacher shall have the right to reproduce any of the contents of the files at the teacher's expense and to submit for inclusion in the file written information in response to any material contained therein.

A school district may destroy the files as provided by law and shall expunge from the teacher's file any material found to be false or substantially inaccurate through the grievance procedure required pursuant to section 179A.20, subdivision 4; provided, the grievance procedure promulgated by the director of the bureau of mediation services, pursuant to section 179A.04, subdivision 3, clause (h), shall apply to those principals and supervisory employees not included in an appropriate unit as defined in section 179A.03. Expungement proceedings shall be commenced within the time period provided in the collective bargaining agreement for the commencement of a grievance. If no time period is provided in the bargaining agreement, the expungement proceedings shall commence within 15 days after the teacher has knowledge of the inclusion in the teacher's file of the material the teacher seeks to have expunged.

HIST: Ex1959 c 71 art 6 s 17; 1961 c 720 s 1; 1971 c 667 s 1; 1975 c 177 s 2; 1976 c 222 s 19,208; 1977 c 447 art 7 s 24; 1978 c 632 s 3; 1978 c 674 s 60; 1979 c 139 s 2; 1983 c 314 art 7 s 32,33; 1984 c 462 s 27; 1984 c 463 art 7 s 14; 1986 c 444; 1988 c 718 art 7 s 36; 1989 c 152 s 2; 1991 c 196 s 3,4; 1991 c 265 art 9 s 52-55; 1992 c 499 art 8 s 14; 1993 c 224 art 12 s 24,25