DID YOU KNOW? Administrator Contract Non-Renewal
Non-renewal of an administrator’s individual employment contract requires two separate notifications
Occasionally, school districts misunderstand the contract non-renewal process and instead of terminating the administrator’s contract they actually end up extending the contract for an additional year. Ouch!
The required procedure, as set forth within Section 1229 of the Revised School Code, MCL 380.1229, requires the following:
- An administrator must be provided written notice of the non-renewal of his/her individual employment contract at least sixty (60) calendar days before the termination date of the contract. In view of the fact that such contracts typically expire on June 30, the absolute deadline for providing this notice is April 30.
- However, the board of education may only provide this 60 day notice of non-renewal if the administrator is first notified that the board is considering the non-renewal of his/her contract and further providing a written statement of the reason(s) the board is considering non-renewal. This initial statutory notice of consideration of non-renewal and including the reason(s) therefore, must be supplied to the administrator not less than thirty (30) days prior to service of the written notice of actual non-renewal. Thus, assuming a June 30 contract expiration date, initial notice that the board is considering non-renewal, together with the reason(s) therefore, must be provided to the administrator no later than March 31.
- The reason(s) supporting non-renewal may not be “arbitrary or capricious,” or in other words, the reason(s) must have some rational basis. This legal standard is significantly less than the more typical employment termination standard of “reasonable and just cause.”
- Upon receipt of the initial notice that the board of education is considering non-renewal together with the written reason(s) therefore, the administrator has the right to request and be provided a meeting with not less than a majority of the members of the board of education for the purpose of discussing the stated reason(s) for non-renewal. If requested, this meeting must occur prior to issuance of the sixty (60) day notice of non-renewal. This meeting may be open or closed at the administrator’s election.
- Failure to provide either of the above-referenced notices within the required timeframe results in extension of the administrator’s employment contract for an additional one-year period.
The opportunity to “meet” with a majority of the board of education to discuss the reason(s) for the contemplated non-renewal does not, in our opinion, require that a comprehensive evidentiary hearing be provided upon the administrator’s request, as would be required for purposes of termination under the Teachers’ Tenure Act. It would appear that the Legislature intended in this regard nothing more than to provide the administrator with an opportunity to address the board of education relative to the reason(s) cited for the proposed non-renewal.
It should be noted that the law does not obligate the board of education to produce any written report or findings but only requires that the board decide whether or not the sixty (60) day written notice of non-renewal will be issued to the subject administrator.