Withdrawal of teacher resignations

by April Mabry

Q: Can a teacher withdraw his or her resignation once it has been submitted?

A: A teacher’s ability to withdraw his or her resignation depends on when the resignation is effective and whether it has been officially accepted. A resignation that is effective at the end of the year is automatic as long as it is received 45 days before the first day of instruction. The district is not required to accept it, and the district cannot reject it [(Tex. Comm’r of Educ. Decision No. 034-R8-0206 (March 5, 2009)]. An educator cannot withdraw an end-of-year resignation without permission from the district. If a resignation is effective at the end of the year, the resignation is effective upon filing with the district.

The process for resignations effective mid-year are different. When the district receives a teacher’s resignation, it should generally act quickly to accept the resignation to prevent the employee from rescinding it. If the district does not provide the teacher with written notification of the acceptance, the teacher may be able to withdraw his or her resignation and continue to be employed by the district.

The authority to accept the resignations of contract employees belongs to the board. Most boards delegate this authority to the superintendent or a designee. This provides districts with the ability to act quickly in accepting resignations. The delegation of authority is typically addressed in Policy DFE(LOCAL)—Termination of Employment: Resignation.

Written notice of acceptance can be given by using the sample notice of acceptance of resignation in the HR Library (member login required) or by taking the following steps:
  • Write “accepted” at the bottom of the employee’s resignation letter.
  • Have the person with authority to accept the resignation sign his or her name and title.
  • Date the acceptance notification.
  • Provide a copy of the accepted resignation to the employee.
One caution regarding acceptance of resignations that would take effect during the school year—once a resignation has been formally accepted, the district forfeits any right to file a complaint regarding abandonment of contract with the State Board for Educator Certification.

 

Texas Rural Schools Task Force makes recommendations on teacher recruitment, retention

By Zach DiSchiano

Shaped by Commissioner Mike Morath in 2016, the Texas Rural Schools Task Force is charged with classifying present issues and best practices for rural school districts across the state. 

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, Texas has more than 2,000 campuses classified as being in rural areas. Texas has more schools in rural areas than any other state in the country with more than 20 percent of campuses located in rural areas.

Rural districts in the state face many educational obstacles specific to their size and region. We addressed those challenges in the January Vol. 1 edition of the HR Exchange newsletter.

The Rural Schools Task Force hosted regional forums that provided opportunities for task force members and superintendents to share visions for improvement in the areas of teacher recruitment, retention, use of technology, resource allocation, and parent and community engagement. The group met four times in Austin in 2016, with additional meetings in 2017. 

Some of the highlights of the Task Force recommendations include:

Teacher recruitment

  • Encourage and support the implementation of “Grow Your Own” programs on high school campuses through a variety of means including the public service endorsement in high school career pathways, dual credit opportunities in education coursework, exploring the possibility of an Early College High School model, and other innovative initiatives.
  • Explore the potential for a centralized, online statewide job application and vacancy matching site.
  • Promote the profession of teaching as rewarding and impactful.
  • Encourage educator preparation programs to increase awareness of rural teaching opportunities.
  • Broaden the pool of potential teachers by exploring the potential for flexibility in certification to include non-certified but qualified personnel to teach Career and Technology Education (CTE) courses, for certified personnel to teach outside of their field, and increasing opportunities for retired teachers to return to full-time teaching.

Teacher retention

  • Encourage the implementation of career pathways for teachers, including leadership opportunities, differentiated compensation, and other opportunities for growth without leaving the classroom.

Rural support in general

  • Continue to offer flexibility and support of local control (e.g., District of Innovation, T-TESS/T-PESS) and explore ways for allowing more flexibility in policies and compliance requirements.
  • Review the effects that policies, procedures, and processes have on rural schools by ensuring sufficient rural representation on the Commissioner’s Texas Association of School Administrators cabinet of superintendents and/or consider convening an annual or semi-annual “Rural Schools Commissioner’s Cabinet.”
  • Create ways to share best practices among rural schools across the state to foster the spread of innovation and achievement.
Final recommendations were presented to Commissioner Morath and are available for download in the report here.
 

Districts receiving Title I funding must address teacher quality disparities

By Zach DiSchiano
 
The upcoming 2017–18 school year will be the first in which all local educational agencies that receive Title I funds must develop a plan for how they will identify and address disparities that result in low-income students and minority students being taught by ineffective, inexperienced, or out-of-field teachers.
 
The rule comes from Federal Title I, Part A Sec. 1112(b)(2) under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This section requires districts receiving Title I funds to create and submit plans by November 1, 2017, detailing how they will improve the quality of teacher to whom low-income and minority students are assigned. The timing of the submission was chosen so that equity plans could be developed in conjunction with a district’s annual improvement planning process.
 
The Title I program provides financial assistance through state educational agencies to local educational agencies and public schools with high numbers or percentages of poor children to help ensure all children meet challenging state academic content and student academic achievement standards.
 
The Texas Education Agency has developed a Texas Equity Plan Toolkit to support districts in the process of developing a district equity plan. The toolkit includes the equity plan template that all districts receiving Title I funds will be required to submit and step-by-step directions for completion of each section of the equity plan template, as well as additional resources to support districts throughout the process.
 
The Texas Equity Plan Toolkit can be accessed here.
 
All education service centers (ESCs) have been trained to support districts in the use of the Texas Equity Plan Toolkit and equity plan development. Each ESC has designated an equity plan contact. The contact list is available here.
 
Districts receiving Title I funds also will see changes in the PR1100 in eGrants—the survey that collected information about highly qualified teachers. Though the highly qualified teacher requirement was removed from federal law, the state still must report on state-level equity gaps for out-of-field and inexperienced teachers. To collect this data, the state has created a new form, the PR1500. Districts receiving Title I funds must complete the PR1500 to provide data on out-of-field teachers and teacher years of experience for each campus receiving Title I funds.
 

HR Extras

FLSA update: How to proceed after overtime rule change freeze

With the overtime rule still on hold, there remains a level of uncertainty on what actions districts should or shouldn’t take as the rule change is stalled in federal court.

We understand some districts are dealing with morale complications from some of the newly implemented changes made this year, whether it be formerly exempt employees upset over now being treated as nonexempt, or that other employees received major increases to their salary to meet the minimum threshold.

Our guidance remains the same—don’t undo any changes you’ve implemented in complying with the proposed rule change. Until we know for certain whether the changes will stand or not, no steps should be taken to reverse the changes your district already took to comply with the proposed new salary threshold.

Your district’s primary concern should be monitoring the progress of the rule as it makes its way through the courts, and we’ll update our readers as soon as information becomes available. You can learn how to address some of the morale problems in this article from the June edition of the HR Exchange.

There are dozens of articles speculating about what may or may not happen with the rule change, but it is imperative districts don’t take action based on conjecture alone. Wait for the issue to get resolved in the courts and then we can proceed in the right direction. 

Bills to monitor

We're tracking bills making their way through the legislature that may have an impact on HR operations. Here is one of the bills to keep an eye on:
  • SB 1634 (Taylor) would allow districts to reduce teacher duty days below the currently required 187 duty days proportionate to the reduction in days of student instruction below 180. The bill also specifies that a reduction in duty days does not reduce a teacher’s salary. SB 1634 was passed unanimously by the Senate Education Committee and is making its way to the full Senate for consideration.
  • HB 2039 establishes an EC-3 certificate in an effort to improve the quality of PK programs. The bill will make an EC-3 certificate optional and does not replace the EC-6 certificate. TASPA submitted a written notice of non-support for this bill. SBEC discussed the possibility of instituting an EC-3 certificate in early March, and the topic is still up for discussion as TEA continues to gather stakeholder input and considers other certification revisions. The last action on the bill was April 12, when the House Public Education Committee reported favorably without amendments for consideration by the full House.

Check for glitch in I-9 forms

The Department of Homeland Security distributed a press release regarding a glitch in the Form I-9.

“If you used Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, that you downloaded between Nov. 14 and Nov. 17, 2016, review them to ensure your employees’ Social Security numbers appear correctly in Section 1. There was a glitch when the revised Form I-9 was first published on Nov. 14, 2016. Numbers entered in the Social Security number field were transposed when employees completed and printed Section 1 using a computer. For example, the number 123-45-6789 entered in the Social Security number field would appear as 123-34-6789 once the form printed. Employers using a Form I-9 that contains this glitch should download and save a new Form I-9 at uscis.gov/i-9.

Employers who notice their employees’ Social Security numbers are not written correctly should have their employees draw a line through the transposed Social Security number in Section 1, enter the correct Social Security number, and then initial and date the change. Employers should include a written explanation with Form I-9 about why the correction was made in the event of an audit.”