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Calculating Penalty-Free Resignation

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Q: What is the penalty-free resignation date and how do we calculate it?

A: An educator serving on a probationary, term, or continuing contract may resign their position between school years without penalty if written notice is filed with the district no later than the 45th day before the first day of instruction for the following school year. The 45th day before the first day of instruction is known as the penalty-free resignation date. A term or continuing contract employee can exercise this annual statutory right to resign even if the employee has a multi-year contract.

A written resignation mailed by prepaid or registered mail to the board president or board’s designee at the district’s post office address is considered filed at the time of mailing.

Calculating the Date

The penalty-free resignation date is based on the first day of instruction for the upcoming year for your district. Each district must count calendar days to determine the exact date, which is usually around the middle of July.

Many districts exempt themselves from Texas Education Code (TEC) §25.0811 that prohibits districts from beginning instruction for students before the fourth Monday in August through a District of Innovation (DOI) plan. Prior to this exemption availability the penalty-free resignation date was similar for many districts. Variation in school start dates means variations in the penalty-free resignation period.

Remember, the date to start counting back from is the first day students will receive instruction, not the date employees are scheduled to begin work in the new year. If the date falls on a weekend or holiday be sure to shift the date to the closest business day that favors the employee (i.e., provides an additional day).


Additional information is available in the HR Library topic Resignations (member login required) as well as the TASB School Law eSource document Resignations by Certified Personnel.

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April Mabry
April Mabry
Best Practices: Salary Notification Letters

April Mabry oversees HR Services training services, member library products, and the HRX newsletter. She has provided HR training and guidance to Texas public schools  since 1991. Mabry was a classroom teacher for 11 years in Texas and Michigan.

Mabry has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Michigan and certification as a professional in human resources (PHR) and is a SHRM-CP.

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