50 ways to leave your lover…38 to leave your district…

As we approach that time of year when districts make decisions about renewal and nonrenewal of teacher contracts, it’s a good idea to review Policy DFBB (Local).  This is where districts list the reasons why a teacher’s contract might be nonrenewed.  When the district informs the teacher of the proposed nonrenewal it must identify the reason or reasons for it, and those reasons must be listed in local policy.  DFBB is where you can find the list.

I don’t think I have ever seen fewer than 35 reasons in a district’s DFBB policy.  I pulled up one district at random and found 38.  Of those 38, however, many are rarely, if ever, used.  Here are a few of the reasons that are most commonly cited, along with some commentary in italics:

1.  Deficiencies pointed out in observation reports, appraisals or evaluations, supplemental memoranda, or other communications; or receipt of an evaluation with an “unsatisfactory” rating in one or more domains or a “below expectations” rating in two or more domains.

That’s pretty broad.  If there are performance problems, surely there is some documentation of “deficiencies pointed out.”  Thus this one is almost always cited as a reason for proposed nonrenewal.

2. Failure to fulfill duties or responsibilities.

As in: this one is a pretty good teacher, but completely messed up the activity funds account.

3. Inability to maintain discipline in any situation in which the employee is responsible for the oversight and supervision of students.

This is the one that came up in the case of the teacher who took the kids to Dick’s Last Resort on the Riverwalk in San Antonio on an overnight school-sponsored trip.

4. Conducting personal business during school hours when it results in neglect of duties.

Everyone has to make a personal phone call on company time sometimes, and people are allowed to sell Tupperware on the side, but you can’t let the side hustle get in the way of your day job.

5. Disability, not otherwise protected by law, that prevents the employee from performing the essential functions of the job.

Disability is protected by law as long as the employee, with reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job.

No matter how many reasons your district lists in DFBB it all comes down to one fundamental point: the proposed nonrenewal should be based on job-related, non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory reasons for which there is at least some evidence.  Tune in tomorrow and Friday and we will cite two more reasons that are typically included in the list in Policy DFBB (Local).