As districts move into the last semester, it’s a good time to review practices relating to the acceptance of a contract employee’s end-of-year resignation.
HR should ensure employees, supervisors, and persons designated by the board are informed of procedures for submitting and accepting resignations. The goal is to encourage employees to provide timely notice and ensure acceptance is done appropriately to prevent rescinding of a resignation.
Resignations Effective Between School Years
Contract employees may resign their positions between school years without penalty by filing a written resignation with the board’s designee or the board at least 45 calendar days before the first day of instruction for the following school year (i.e., penalty-free resignation date). A resignation effective at the end of the year is effective when filed with the authorized individual or the board (Oliver v. Santa Rosa Indep. Sch. Dist., Proposed Tex. Comm’r of Educ Decision No. 14-R10-11-2020 (Apr. 7, 2021)).
In practice, resigning employees usually submit a written resignation to the superintendent or a board-designated administrator rather than submitting it to the board. The district cannot reject the resignation and the educator cannot withdraw it without the district’s agreement if it has been properly filed (Fantroy v. Dallas Indep. Sch. Dist., Tex. Comm’r of Educ. Decision No. 034-R8-0206 (Mar. 5, 2009)). A contract employee may exercise their annual right to resign from employment at the end of a school year even if the employee is in the middle of a multi-year contract with the district.
Provisions regarding the acceptance of resignations are addressed in Policy DFE (LOCAL). Based on a proposed commissioner’s decision, Oliver v. Santa Rosa Indep. Sch. Dist., Proposed Tex. Comm’r of Educ Decision No. 14-R10-11-2020 (Apr. 7, 2021), TASB Policy Service revised Policy DFE (LOCAL) in Update 118 authorizing the superintendent or other person designated by Board action to accept contract employees’ resignations effective at the end of the school year or submitted after the last day of the school year and before the penalty-free resignation date. The revisions clarify that the board, not the superintendent, must delegate authority to accept resignations to others through board action.
The number of district employees a board chooses to authorize to accept a contract employee’s resignation is a local decision. Such a decision varies depending on the size of the district and the structure of its administration. A board may want to list several employment positions in addition to the superintendent to accept contract employees’ resignations. A board may delegate different positions authorized to accept contract employees’ resignations at the end of the school year and mid-year resignations.
The Update 118 changes to DFE (LOCAL) include recommended text requiring a supervisor who has not been designated by the board to accept resignations to instruct an employee providing a resignation to submit it to the superintendent or other person designated by board action. This statement ensures that an authorized individual receives resignations submitted by contract employees and employees not authorized to accept resignations has clear expectations for their response if given a resignation.
Use of Email Inbox for Receipt of Resignations
Every district handles resignations differently, and the use of a dedicated email for receipt of resignations is a tool that many districts use to automate the resignation process. One risk of using an automated email inbox for end-of-year resignations is that employees may argue that resignations are not effective if not submitted to a person authorized by the board. As demonstrated by the facts of Oliver v. Santa Rosa ISD, a contract employee may be able to successfully argue that a resignation submitted by email wasn’t accepted and therefore could be rescinded at the employee’s will.
Instructions for Employees
It’s important to make employees aware of who a resignation should be submitted to and how to submit it. If a contract employee’s end-of-year resignation is not submitted to the board or a person designated by the board, that resignation does not become effective. If the resignation is not effective, the resigning employee could decide to rescind the resignation and the district would have no way to enforce the resignation. For example, a contract employee submitting a resignation to a supervisor not designated by the board could rescind the resignation at any time.
The TASB Policy Service Regulations Resource Manual (myTASB access to Policy Service resources required) includes sample resolutions for use if a board chooses to designate district employees, in addition to the superintendent, to accept contract employee resignations (see DFE (EXHIBIT)).
Information on accepting contract employees’ mid-year resignations and at-will employee resignations is available in the HR Library topic Resignations.
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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