The deadlines are approaching for non-renewal of probationary teacher contracts. The probationary period is five years.
Pursuant to MCL 38.83, a board of education must provide a probationary teacher with a definite written statement as to whether or not his or her work has been effective. For a probationary teacher who is under the five-year period, a teacher will be employed for the ensuing year unless notified in writing at least 15 days before the end of the school year—June 30—whether his or her services will be discontinued. This means that written notice must be provided on or before Friday, June 15, 2018.
A district should be aware of some other requirements regarding probationary teachers. Under MCL 38.83b, a teacher shall not be considered to have successfully completed the probationary period unless the teacher has been rated effective or highly effective on his or her three most recent annual year-end performance evaluations, that are in compliance with section 1249 of the Michigan Revised School Code, MCL 380.1249, and has completed at least five full school years of employment in a probationary period. A probationary teacher under a five-year probationary period who is rated highly effective on three consecutive annual year-end evaluations and who has completed at least four full school years of employment shall be considered to have successfully completed the probationary period.
For teachers who have acquired tenure in another school district, the probationary period is still two years beginning with the date of their first day of their employment. Notice of non-renewal must be given at least 60 days before the completion of the probationary period. For example, for teachers whose annual employment corresponds to the school year ending June 30, 2017, written notice must be provided on or before Tuesday, May 1, 2018. For teachers who started mid-school year, the 60 days is calculated from the anniversary date of their first day of employment.
In addition, a school district is obligated to provide a probationary teacher with an individualized development plan developed by the appropriate administrative personnel in consultation with the individual teacher. First-year probationary teachers must receive a midyear progress report. The district is required to provide the teacher with at least an annual year-end performance evaluation during the teacher’s probationary period. The annual year-end performance evaluation is to be based on classroom observations and include an assessment of the teacher’s progress in meeting the goals of his or her individual development plan. The performance evaluation shall be conducted in accordance with section 1249 of the Michigan Revised School Code, MCL 380.1249.
If you have questions regarding non-renewal of a probationary teacher contract, please contact Marshall W. Grate or another member of Clark Hill’s Education Law Practice Group.