Tenured Teacher Dismissal Process and Timetable

The teacher tenure law sets out strict termination and due process requirements for teachers, whether or not they have tenure. Tenured teachers have their contracts automatically renewed from year-to-year; can be dismissed only for six statutorily specified reasons; and have the right to (1) bump untenured teachers in positions for which they are qualified if their positions are eliminated, (2) written notice of the reasons for termination, (3) a termination hearing before the board of education or an impartial hearing panel, and (4) appeal the results of the hearing to Superior Court.

Reasons for Dismissal of Tenured Teacher

The tenured teacher dismissal process can only commenced against a tenured teacher for:

  • Inefficiency or incompetence based on evaluations that comply with State Board of Education guidelines for evaluations;
  • Insubordination against reasonable board of education rules;
  • Moral misconduct;
  • Disability proven by medical evidence;
  • Elimination of the position to which he was appointed or loss of a position another teacher, as long as there is no other position for which the teacher is qualified and subject to the applicable provisions of a collective bargaining agreement or school board policy; or
  • Other due and sufficient cause.

Before they become tenured, teachers can also be notified in writing by April 1 of each school year that their contracts will not be renewed for the coming year. The board does not have to specify any reason for nonrenewal unless the teacher files a written request for the reason. If the teacher makes such a request, the board must supply a reason within seven days.

Tenured Teacher Dismissal Process and Timetable

School boards must follow a specific statutory process when dismissing both tenured and nontenured teachers. The process requires notice, a hearing, and a right to appeal.

Notice and Right to a Hearing

The law requires local school boards to follow the steps and timetable shown in Table 1 when notifying a tenured teacher that it is considering his termination.

Table 1: Tenured Teacher Pre-Hearing Termination Process

Table 1: Tenured Teacher
Pre-Hearing Termination Process

Hearing and Hearing Panel

The board may hear the case itself or may designate a subcommittee of three or more board members to hear the case. The board may convene an impartial hearing panel, if the teacher requests it or the board designates one. The parties may also agree to a hearing before an impartial hearing officer chosen by both parties. If the parties cannot agree on a hearing officer within five days after they decide to use one, the hearing must be held before either the board or a hearing panel. The hearing panel consists of three members, one chosen by the teacher, one by the board, and a chairman chosen by these two members.

If the two members cannot agree, the third member must be selected with the help of the American Arbitration Association (AAA), using its expedited process and rules for selecting neutral grievance arbitrators. If these procedures do not work after five days, the board of education or a subcommittee must hear the case. Each party pays its own panel member and splits the cost of the third and all other hearing costs.

The hearing, decision, and appeal timetable is shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Hearing, Decision, and Appeal Timetable

Table 2: Hearing, Decision, and Appeal Timetable

Despite the foregoing requirements, the law gives a school board the right to suspend a teacher from duty immediately and without prejudice when serious misconduct is charged. [1]

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., 266 Post Road East, Westport, Connecticut (located in Fairfield County), by telephone at (203) 221-3100, or by email at JMaya@mayalaw.com.

This case was not handled by our firm. However, if you have any questions regarding this case, or any employment law matter, please contact Joseph Maya at 203-221-3100 or by email at JMaya@mayalaw.com.


[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