2017 ORS 342.895¹
Contract teachers
  • procedure for dismissal or contract nonextension
  • appeal

(1) Contract teachers shall be employed by a school district pursuant to two-year employment contracts.

(2) Authority to dismiss or not extend a contract teacher is vested in the district school board subject to the provisions of the fair dismissal and contract extension procedures of ORS 342.805 (Short title) to 342.937 (Reimbursement for teacher dismissal costs) and only after recommendation of the dismissal or nonextension of contract is given to the district school board by the superintendent.

(3)(a) At least 20 days before recommending to a board the dismissal of the contract teacher, the district superintendent shall give written notice to the contract teacher by certified mail or delivered in person of the intention to make a recommendation to dismiss the teacher. The notice shall set forth the statutory grounds upon which the superintendent believes such dismissal is justified, and shall contain a plain and concise statement of the facts relied on to support the statutory grounds for dismissal. If the statutory grounds specified are those specified in ORS 342.865 (Grounds for dismissal or contract nonextension of contract teacher) (1)(a), (c), (d), (g) or (h), then evidence shall be limited to those allegations supported by statements in the personnel file of the teacher on the date of the notice to recommend dismissal, maintained as required in ORS 342.850 (Teacher evaluation). Notice shall also be sent to the district school board and to the Fair Dismissal Appeals Board. A copy of ORS 342.805 (Short title) to 342.937 (Reimbursement for teacher dismissal costs) shall also be sent to the contract teacher.

(b) If, after the 20-day notice required by paragraph (a) of this subsection, the district school board takes action to approve the recommendation for dismissal from the superintendent, the dismissal takes effect on or after the date of the district school board’s action, as specified by the board. Notice of the board’s action shall be given to the contract teacher as soon as practicable by certified mail, return receipt requested or in the manner provided by law for the service of a summons in a civil action.

(4)(a) Upon recommendation of the district superintendent, the district school board may extend a contract teacher’s employment for a new two-year term by providing written notice to the teacher no later than March 15 of the first year of the contract. Any new contract that extends the teacher’s employment for a new term shall replace any prior contracts.

(b) If the district school board does not extend a contract teacher’s contract by March 15 of the first year of the contract, the district superintendent, or the superintendent’s designee, shall place the teacher on a program of assistance for improvement. The district superintendent or the superintendent’s designee may, in addition, place any other teacher on a program of assistance for improvement if in the judgment of the district superintendent or designee a program of assistance for improvement is needed.

(c) Provided that the district school board has not extended the teacher’s contract for a new two-year term, the district board, upon recommendation of the superintendent, may elect by written notice to the teacher no later than March 15 of the second year of the teacher’s contract not to extend the teacher’s contract based on any ground specified in ORS 342.865 (Grounds for dismissal or contract nonextension of contract teacher). A contract teacher whose contract is not extended may appeal the nonextension to the Fair Dismissal Appeals Board.

(5) Notwithstanding ORS 243.650 (Definitions for ORS 243.650 to 243.782) to 243.782 (Representation by counsel authorized) or the provisions of any collective bargaining agreement entered into after August 15, 1997, no grievance or other claim of violation of applicable evaluation procedures, or fundamental unfairness in a program of assistance for improvement, shall be filed while a teacher is on a program of assistance. All statutes of limitation and grievance timelines shall be tolled while the subject claims are held in abeyance under this moratorium provision. Except as provided in this subsection, the moratorium and tolling period ends on the date the program of assistance for improvement is completed, not to exceed one year, after which any claims subject to this provision may be pursued as otherwise provided by law or contract. In the case of a contract teacher who does not receive contract extension by March 15 of the first year of the teacher’s contract, the moratorium period shall last until the teacher receives notice of contract extension or nonextension and no later than March 15 of the following school year, or until the teacher receives notice of dismissal. A contract teacher who is dismissed or receives notice of contract nonextension, and who appeals to the Fair Dismissal Appeals Board, may raise any claims subject to this moratorium provision before the Fair Dismissal Appeals Board, which shall have jurisdiction to decide such claims. If the teacher does raise claims covered by this moratorium provision in an appeal to the Fair Dismissal Appeals Board, such appeal shall be the teacher’s sole and exclusive remedy. If a contract teacher does not appeal a contract nonextension or dismissal to the Fair Dismissal Appeals Board but instead pursues contract grievances to arbitration alleging a violation of evaluation procedures or fundamental unfairness in a program of assistance for improvement, the arbitrator shall not have authority to award reinstatement of the contract teacher, but may award other remedies including but not limited to back pay, front pay, compensatory damages and such further relief as the arbitrator deems appropriate. A program of assistance for improvement shall not be technically construed, and no alleged error or unfairness in a program of assistance shall cause the overturning of a dismissal, nonextension of contract, nonrenewal of contract or other disciplinary actions unless the contract teacher suffered a substantial and prejudicial impairment in the teacher’s ability to comply with school district standards.

(6) No teacher may be dismissed, laid off or caused to suffer nonextension or nonrenewal of a contract based upon the teacher’s salary placement or other compensation. [1965 c.608 §11; 1971 c.570 §7; 1973 c.298 §5; 1977 c.881 §5; 1979 c.668 §3; 1997 c.864 §12]

See also annota­tions under ORS 342.508 in permanent edi­tion.

Notes of Decisions

A witness otherwise qualified as an expert who himself has not furnished in­for­ma­­tion or data found in the per­sonnel file is not thereby disqualified as a witness under this sec­tion. Sch. Dist. 48 v. Fair Dismissal Appeals Bd., 14 Or App 634, 514 P2d 1114 (1973)

Where facts relied upon by school board to dismiss teacher were found by Fair Dismissal Appeals Board to be true, Board may not reverse school board ac­tion unless no reasonable school board could have regarded facts as sufficient to support statutory grounds for dismissal. Lincoln County School District v. Mayer, 39 Or App 99, 591 P2d 755 (1979), Sup Ct review denied

Where procedural prerequisites of this sec­tion were not followed in transfer of senior high school principals to posi­tions as junior high school principals, relief should first have been sought from Fair Dismissal Appeals Board. Zollinger v. Warner, 286 Or 19, 593 P2d 1107 (1979)

Where reports of parental complaints were included in teacher’s per­sonnel file, hearsay evidence was admissible in Fair Dismissal Appeals Board pro­ceed­ing concerning teacher’s dismissal on grounds of “inadequate performance.” Vorm v. School Dist. No. 40, 45 Or App 225, 608 P2d 193 (1980)

Notice of dismissal must contain state­ment of facts which expressly sets out nexus between teacher’s con­duct and teaching responsibilities or from which such connec­tion may obviously be inferred and where notice informed teacher that acts constituting “gross unfitness” and “immorality” consisted of 12 instances of battery, 11 of which involved offensive sexual contact with student in district where respondent taught who was same approximate age as respondent’s students, nexus may obviously be inferred. Shipley v. Salem School Dist 24J, 64 Or App 777, 669 P2d 1172 (1983), Sup Ct review denied

Where formal notice pro­ce­dure is not followed, district school board may not take ac­tion to dismiss teacher and period for ap­pealing dismissal is tolled. Post v. Salem-Keizer School District, 334 Or 61, 45 P3d 116 (2002)

Moratorium on filing of grievances while teacher is on plan of assistance does not suspend processing of grievances pending at time plan of assistance commences. Lane Unified Bargaining Council v. South Lane School District 45J3, 334 Or 157, 47 P3d 4 (2002)

Law Review Cita­tions

34 WLR 269 (1998)

Notes of Decisions

Under these sec­tions a nontenured teacher may be entitled to a fair hearing. Vanderzanden v. Lowell Sch. Dist. 71, 369 F Supp 67 (1973)

The procedural require­ments contained in these sec­tions apply to all, or substantially all, nonper­sonal discharges of instructors and administrators and to the transfer of administrators. Schaaf v. Sch. Dist. No. 4J, 19 Or App 838, 529 P2d 943 (1974), Sup Ct review denied

Where senior high school principals were transferred to posi­tions as junior high school principals, allegedly in viola­tion of Fair Dismissal Law, ap­peal must first be made to Fair Dismissal Appeals Board and issuance of writ of mandamus by circuit court was improper. Zollinger v. Warner, 286 Or 19, 593 P2d 1107 (1979)

Law Review Cita­tions

16 WLR 409 (1979)

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 342—Teachers and Other School Personnel, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors342.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2017, Chapter 342, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano342.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.