Dismissal Process

Nontenured teachers have many of the same termination rights as tenured teachers. But they can also be dismissed by simple non-renewal of their contracts, if they are notified by April 1. If a teacher files a written request, the Board must supplement the non-renewal notice with a written statement of its reasons for non-renewal within seven days of receiving the request.

Nontenured teachers may be “bumped” by tenured teachers whose positions are eliminated. Bumping must occur in accordance with a collective bargaining agreement or, if there is none, with a written policy of the board.

Nontenured teachers dismissed because their positions were eliminated or they were bumped have no right to a hearing. Otherwise, like a tenured teacher, a nontenured teacher has 20 days after receiving notice of non-renewal or termination to file a written request for a hearing, either before the board or, if the hearing request specifies it and the board designates, an impartial hearing panel appointed as described above. The hearing must begin within 15 days of the request, unless the parties agree to an extension of not more than 15 days, and must be conducted in the same way as a tenured teacher’s hearing.

Unlike tenured teachers, nontenured teachers cannot appeal board decisions to Superior Court unless the dismissal is for moral misconduct or disability.

Court Appeals

If a teacher appeals a dismissal to Superior Court, the court must treat it as a privileged case and hear it as soon as practicable. The board must file the hearing transcript and other relevant documents with the court. The court must review the record and allow the parties to introduce new evidence if equitable disposition of the case requires it. The court may affirm or reverse the board’s decision but is not allowed to assess costs against the board unless it finds the board acted with gross negligence, malice, or bad faith. [1]

[1] “Teacher Tenure Law,” by the Connecticut General Assembly. April 22, 2002: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2002/olrdata/ed/rpt/2002-r-0469.htm

As a teacher, it is imperative that you understand Connecticut’s statutory scheme surrounding hiring, evaluation, and termination processes. Should you have any questions regarding these or other education law matters, you should seek the counsel of an experienced school law practitioner.

Please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya, Esq. He may be reached at Maya Murphy, P.C. in Westport, Connecticut by telephone at (203) 221-3100, or by email at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.