In the spring and fall, we typically receive a few calls about teachers who have allowed their certificates to expire. The Court of Appeals recent decision in Wellman v Board of Education of Melvindale-Northern Allen Park Public School District, Case No 318423 (July 22, 2014) confirmed the long-standing rule that a school district may not continue the employment of a teacher who has lost his or her certification and has no duty to apply for a temporary permit for such a teacher.
In Wellman the teacher’s certificate was “withdrawn.” Predictably, the district terminated her employment. Plaintiff sued, alleging the district had an obligation to apply for a temporary permit on her behalf. Strangely, the circuit court agreed and denied the district’s motion to dismiss the case. The Court of Appeals, reversing the circuit court’s decision, based its decision on the clear requirements of the Revised School Code and related administrative regulations concerning teaching certificates and temporary permits. The Court noted the district was legally prohibited from continuing the employment of a non-certified teacher and, in addition, had no duty to apply for a temporary permit on her behalf. The Court also noted there was no question that terminating the employment of a teacher who lost his or her certification was not arbitrary and capricious.