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Non-Renewal of Probationary Teacher Contracts

February 11, 2020

The deadlines are approaching for non-renewal of probationary teacher contracts. The standard probationary period is five years. 

Under the Michigan Teachers’ Tenure Act, MCL 38.83, a board of education is required to provide a probationary teacher with a definite written statement as to whether or not his or her work has been effective. The statute provides that 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. For illustrative purposes, for a teacher whose contract terminates on June 30, the statute requires that written notice be provided on or before Monday, June 15, 2020. 

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 comply 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. Also, the statute provides that a probationary teacher 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 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 employment. The Teachers’ Tenure Act requires that notice of non-renewal must be given at least 60 days before the completion of the probationary period.  MCL 38.92. For illustrative purposes, for teachers whose annual employment corresponds to the school year ending June 30, 2019, written notice is required on or before Friday, May 1, 2020. For teachers who started mid-school year, the 60 days is calculated from the anniversary date of their first day of employment.

Also, the Teachers’ Tenure Act requires a school district to provide a probationary teacher with an individualized development plan developed by the appropriate administrative personnel in consultation with the individual teacher. Under MCL 380.1249, first-year probationary teachers are to receive a midyear progress report, and the Teacher’s Tenure Act requires school districts to provide the teacher with an annual year-end performance evaluation that is based on classroom observations and that includes an assessment of the teacher’s progress in meeting the goals of his or her individual development plan. MCL 38.83a. 

If you have any questions regarding the non-renewal of a probationary teacher contract, please contact your Clark Hill PLC education law attorney.

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