Q: Is an uncertified teacher hired under a school district teaching permit or in a position covered by a District of Innovation (DOI) plan entitled to a Chapter 21 contract?
A: Districts aren't required to employ a teacher under a Chapter 21 contract (e.g., probationary, term, or continuing contract) if the position doesn't require certification from the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC). An employee teaching under a school district teaching permit authorized by Texas Education Code § 21.055 isn't entitled to a contract because the certification is issued by the district, not SBEC.
This includes the long-standing school district teaching permit for any area sent to the commissioner for review and for noncore career and technical local permits not requiring approval by the commissioner.
District of Innovation
When the DOI plan exempts positions from the certification requirements, the district isn't required to employ uncertified teachers under a Chapter 21 contract, unless local policy provides otherwise. If the DOI plan only exempts certain positions (e.g., Career and Technical Education (CTE)), teachers in other positions requiring certification would still need to be employed under a Chapter 21 contract.
Additional information about DOI plans is available in the TASB School Law eSource paper, Districts of Innovation: Policy Guidance for After the Plan.
Districts can choose to employ teachers not entitled to a Chapter 21 contract under a noncertified professional contract or at-will. Be sure to check local policy to determine what arrangement has been adopted. Consult with a school attorney before dismissing an employee from an instructional position to confirm the appropriate procedures have been followed.
Finally, remember any at-will employee hired for fewer than 12 months should be provided with a letter of reasonable assurance at hire and each spring.
Model documents included in the HR Library include:
April Mabry is an assistant director at TASB HR Services. Send April an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.