Well, the deadline to sign your “contract” for next school year (2014 – 2015) has come and gone.
Inquiring minds want to know: Did you or didn’t you? If not, why not?
If you did not sign the “contract,” we hope you will be willing to complete a short survey. You will not be asked for any specific identifying information. The survey may be completed on your home computer. Simply click here to download it and open it in Microsoft Word. Then place your cursor over the check boxes you select or at the beginning of the line where you will type a brief answer. After completing the survey, please save it and e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org or save it, print it and mail it to DeKalb School Watch, POB 660221, Atlanta, GA 30341.
Please do NOT use a DeKalb County Schools computer (even a DCS laptop you take home) or DeKalb County Schools printer or a connection to DeKalb County Schools high speed Internet to complete the survey. Even if you are using your personal laptop or tablet and personal e-mail (i.e., Gmail or Yahoo, etc) do NOT use a DCS computer, printer or high speed Internet connection.
If you do not have a personal computer at home, use a public computer in a DeKalb County Public Library. If you have a personal laptop or tablet but no Internet connection at home, you may connect to the Internet at a DeKalb County Public Library or at McDonald’s or Starbucks.
As a reminder, per § 20-2-211(b) in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.):
Upon request, a written explanation for failure to renew [a certificated teacher’s] contract shall be made available to such certificated personnel by the executive officer. When such notice of intended termination has not been given by [April 15 for school year 2014-2015, only] the employment of such teacher or other certificated professional employee shall be continued for the ensuing school year unless the teacher or certificated professional employee elects not to accept such employment by notifying the local governing board or executive officer in writing not later than [May 1 for school year 2014-2015, only].
HB 244 becomes effective July 1, 2014 and the dates shown above will change to from April 15 to May 15 and from May 1 to June 1.
In spite of what Ward-Smith claims, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission says this in its Ethics FAQs about the breaking the “contract” you signed:
“A school system can report an educator at any time, but it does not always result in a sanction against the educator’s certificate. The Commission has decided that it would not sanction an educator for Abandonment of Contract if:
- The Educator submits a letter of resignation prior to June 1st for the upcoming school year.
- The Educator submits a letter of resignation with at least a two week notice after June 1st for the following reasons:
- A documented personal health problem or family medical problem that requires the Educator’s full-time care and attention.
- A documented spousal transfer and relocation out of a reasonable commuting distance of the contracted position.
- A documented promotion within the field of education.”
The way we read GaPSC Ethics FAQs, (and we must emphasize that we are not lawyers and are not giving legal advice), teachers who signed a “contract” have until May 31 (i.e., prior to June 1) to submit a letter of resignation to DeKalb County Schools without fear of sanction by GaPSC.
The way we read O.C.G.A. § 20-2-211(b) (and we must emphasize that we are not lawyers and are not giving legal advice), when notice of intended termination has not been given to teachers by April 15 for 2014-2015, only, the employment of teachers will be continued for the ensuing school year unless the teacher or certificated professional employee elects not to accept such employment by notifying the local governing board or executive officer in writing not later than May 1 for 2014-2015, only.
Although DeKalb County Schools is bound by the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, enforcement is another matter. We are not qualified to give legal advice and we strongly suggest that you seek the advice of your attorney. We encourage teachers to read the law, then use any legal benefits you have with your professional educators organization membership — or through legal benefits paid for by payroll deduction or any other payment plan — and seek the advice of a qualified attorney. Or contact a qualified attorney on your own. You need to understand the law, know your rights, and know how enforceable your rights are.