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Personnel Actions

Child Abuse Reporting

The Professional Educator Discipline Act was amended and renamed as Educator Discipline Act (effective February 16, 2014) to require the chief school administrator to file with the Department of Education the following regarding any educator who is the subject of suspected child abuse filed by the school entity under the Child Protective Services Law (“CPSL”) and to file a report when the school entity knows an educator to have been named as the perpetrator of an indicated or founded report of child abuse or student abuse.  The information in the required reports can be included as a basis for disciplinary action against an educator.

Act 82 of 2012-Teacher Evaluation Requirements

Act 82 amends Section 1123 of the School Code, the previously used PDE 5501 and PDE 426 and 428.  The new evaluation tool includes both multiple measures of student achievement and observed professional practice.  The new rating system goes into effect for the 2013-14 school year for professional employees and temporary employees who provide direct instruction to students related to a specific subject or grade level-classroom teachers.  Beginning in 2014-2015 the new evaluation system will be used for all principals and nonteaching professional employees (both tenured and non-tenured).  Non-teaching professional employees include school psychologists, school guidance counselors, school dental hygienists, school nurses, and home and school visitors.

For classroom teachers, 50 percent of the overall rating is to be based on multiple student performance measures which shall be comprised of the following:

15 percent building level data, including student performance on assessments, value-added data from PDE; graduation rate, promotion rate, attendance rate, advanced placement course participation and SAT and PSAT data.

15 percent teacher specific data, including but not limited to student performance on assessments, value-added data from PDE, progress in meeting IEP goals and locally developed rubrics.

20 percent elective data, including student achievement measures that are locally developed and selected by the school entity from a list approved by PDE, including but not limited to student achievement in each of the following areas:  planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction, and professional responsibilities.

The remaining 50 percent are based on classroom observations and practice models related to student achievement in each of the following areas:  planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction, and professional responsibilities.

The required performance levels/ratings are “distinguished”, “proficient”, “needs improvement” and “failing.”  “Distinguished” and “proficient” are considered satisfactory.  A “needs improvement” designation is satisfactory except that a second “needs improvement” in 10 years by the same employer is considered unsatisfactory.  Both “needs improvement” and “failing” designations require the employee to participate in a performance improvement plan.

No employee shall be rated “needs improvement” or “failing” based solely on student test scores.

The new rating form is found in 22 Pa. Code, Chapter 19.1.

Furloughs

In light of the budgetary shortfall many school districts are facing and Governor Corbett’s call for legislation to be passed to permit school district ‘s to furlough staff for economic reasons, we at Andrews & Price endeavor to keep our clients updated on the often difficult decisions regarding staff reduction.

Does a school district’s extension of recall rights to a TPE limit its power to furlough?

No. A TPE does not have suspension rights pursuant to Section 1124 and 1125.1 of the Pennsylvania School Code. A School may voluntarily choose to include a TPE within the protections of the school code but this offer of gratuitious reinstatement rights does not restrict the School’s basis for non-renewal of the TPE.

The attorneys at Andrews & Price successfully defended the non-renewal of the TPE. The School District eliminated two full time positions and then created one new full time bargaining unit position. Realignment required by the School Code to ensure that more senior employees were provided an opportunity to fill positions where properly certificated resulted in the non-renewal of a TPE with an english certication. The Association filed a grievance challenging the non-renewal as a violation of the CBA. The Association argued that the merge of two full time positions into one was invalid as the schol did not receive PDE approval. The School sought approval after it issued its non-renewal notice and recall rights letter to the TPE. Additionally, the Association’s position was that the grant of recall rights converted the non-renewal into an 1124 furlough and restricted the school’s authority to suspend the TPE.

The School’s position was that 11-1124 does not apply to TPE’s and that the CBA obligated the district to realign staff to the detriment of the TPE. As to the approval from PDE, the School had the required recommendation of the Superintendent, concurrence of the Board of School Directors and approval from PDE.

The Arbitrator held the non-renewal of the TPE to be proper as 11-124 does not apply to a TPE . The Grievance was denied.

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