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Reminders: Penalty-Free Resignation Date

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As the end of the school year approaches, it’s important to confirm the penalty-free resignation date (PFRD) for your district employees. 

The PFRD serves as the cutoff date for educators under probationary, term, or continuing contracts to submit their resignations for the upcoming school year without penalty, ensuring the district’s obligation to release them from their contract. 

Calculating the Date

The 45th day before the first day of instruction is known as the penalty-free resignation date. Remember to count back from the first day of instruction for students, not the date employees are scheduled to begin work. Each district must count calendar days to determine the exact date, which could fall in late June for those school districts starting classes in early August.

If the 45th day falls on a weekend or a holiday, for the employee’s benefit, the best practice would be to adjust the PFRD to the next business day. For example, if the PFRD is Saturday, the district should shift it to the following Monday so the actual day the resignation is submitted is a business day. 

Resignation Letters

HR should ensure employees, supervisors, and persons designated by the board are informed of the PFRD and the procedures for submitting and accepting resignations. Make employees aware of the acceptable methods of submission and to whom the resignation should be submitted. If a contract employee’s end-of-year resignation is not submitted to the board or a person designated by the board, that resignation is not valid.

A signed resignation letter can be hand delivered or sent via email to the designated official on or before the PFRD. Alternatively, a written resignation sent by prepaid or registered mail to the board president or the district’s designee at the district’s office address is considered filed at the time of mailing.

Impact on Recruiting

The first day of instruction varies among districts, depending on each district’s school calendar for the upcoming school year. Hiring managers should keep this in mind when considering applicants from other districts. Ensuring that candidates receive job offers early in the summer allows them ample time to submit their resignation prior to their PFRD. 


It is imperative for HR leaders to clearly communicate the resignation process and deadlines to employees under contract and all other individuals involved in the process. The primary goal of school districts is to provide students with an education; the timeframe of the PFRD ensures districts have sufficient time to fill vacancies before students return to school.

Addition information on resignations can be found in the HR Services Resource Library — Resignations (member login required) and in the following HRX articles: 

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Shannon Burns
Shannon Burns
HR Consultant

Shannon Burns joined HR Services in 2023 as an HR consultant. She has 22 years of experience in public school districts serving as an executive director of human resources, special programs coordinator, campus administrator, and teacher.

Burns earned her master’s degree from Texas A&M in Kingsville and her superintendent certificate from The University of Texas at Tyler.

HR Services

TASB HR Services supports HR leadership in Texas schools through membership offerings in specialized training, consulting, and other services.
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