New state statute changes contracts for teachers

Taylor Pardue Staff Reporter

September 27, 2013

Teachers in North Carolina should expect significant differences in their contract discussions following recent changes in the state legislature.

Allison Moxley of Elkin City Schools gave a presentation Monday night at the Board of Education’s monthly meeting regarding the new “decision tree” that will be used in determining contract statuses in the upcoming 2014-15 school year.

The process will begin the staggered elimination of career statuses [tenure] for teachers and establish a “renewable contract employment system.”

State Law 2013-360 Section 9.6 outlines the process - 115C-325.1 through 325.13

According to a draft of the process presented during the meeting to the board, teachers will be evaluated on their effectiveness and deemed proficient or non-proficient.

Moxley said the teachers will be evaluated on a rubric that has not been developed yet.

“We are currently scheduling meetings with principals and teachers to discuss the various possibilities of what should be included in that rubric,” Moxley said.

The teachers will be determined to be proficient or non-proficient, at which point several paths are available.

If the teacher is deemed non-proficient they are applicable for non-renewal of their contract or may be given a one-year contract. This decision is left up to the individual school system, according to Moxley’s presentation.

If a teacher is deemed proficient they will then be separated by whether they have three or more years consecutively in the school district or less than three years.

Those with less than three consecutive years but with no career status will be eligible for a one-year contract. Those with a career status, while rare, would be eligible to continue their career status until all career statuses are done away with in the 2018-19 school year.

The local school system has several options for those teachers with three or more consecutive years in the district.

A teacher who meets the requirement and has a career status can continue their status until 2018-19. Those without one can accept a one-year contract.

The school superintendent can select 25 percent of the teachers with three or more consecutive years and present them to the board for a four-year contract.

The board can then accept the nominations of make their own selections.

Teachers in the 25 percent chosen who have a career status can opt to relinquish their status in return for an additional $500 every year of four years on top of their base salary.

For instance, if a teacher’s base salary is $40,000, the first year of their new four-year contract would be a salary of $40,500. The second year of four would be $41,000. The third $41,500 and the fourth $42,000.

After that four-year period the state is eliminating career statuses for everyone and the contracts will end.

There is uncertainty as to whether that salary increase will remain and who will be responsible for paying it to the teachers if it does stay in effect.

The superintendent must review evaluations of the designated group of teachers and recommend 25 percent to receive the four-year contracts.

The process is locally-controlled, according to the presentation. The “N.C. Department of Public Instruction can only help explain the law - decisions are left entirely to the discretion of the local educational authority within the confines of the law.”

In 2018-19 the whole system shifts. The General Assembly will eliminate career status for everyone, effectively ending tenure for teachers.

Starting that year only three contract types will be available: one-year, two-year and four-year contracts. Moxley’s presentation listed the reason for this as the General Assembly’s move toward “pay for performance.”

Those probationary teachers who did not receive career status prior to the 2012-13 year will not receive one in this transition period.

The process takes effect July 1, 2014 and runs through June 30, 2018.

To contact Taylor Pardue call 336-835-1513 ext. 15, or email him at tpardue@civitasmedia.com.