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STUDENTS FIRST ACT & OPEN MEETINGS ACT Alabama School Communicators Association July 28, 2011 Montgomery, Alabama

Sally Brewer Howell, Executive Director Alabama Association of School Boards Jayne Harrell Williams, Esquire Hill, Hill, Carter, Franco, Cole & Black


CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD AASB’s STUDENTS FIRST STARTER KIT AND IMPLEMENTATION GUIDE

STUDENTS FIRST ACT ACT 2011-270 CLICK HERE TO ACCESS AASB’s STUDENTS FIRST CLEARINGHOUSE


Major Changes Repeals the Teacher Tenure Act and Fair Dismissal Act  Returns discretion to local boards  Reduces payroll time for terminated employees  Changes process for terminations & transfers  Exempts RIFs and partial cancellations  Eliminates criminal stays 


Who’s Covered? Teacher Tenure Act/ Fair Dismissal Act 

Instructor, supervisor or principal

Students First Act 

Teacher • Any employee required to have certificate

Classified employees

• Includes tenured principals 

Classified employee • Bus drivers • Cafeteria workers • Custodians • Supervisors (non-certificated)

Superintendents and CSFOs are excluded


Gaining Protection Teacher Tenure Act/ Fair Dismissal Act 

Teachers

Students First Act 

• 3 consecutive, complete years • Oct 1 - complete year • Notice by June 15 in years 1 and 2 o June 30 if quadrennium • Notice by last day of school in year 3

• 3 consecutive years, including partial • Nonrenewal by last day of 3rd year 

Classified Employees • 3 calendar years • Not consecutive

Teacher

Classified employee • 3 consecutive, complete years • Oct 1- complete year • Notice by June 15 o June 30 if quadrennium


TERMINATIONS


Termination of Probationary Employees Teacher Tenure Act/ Fair Dismissal Act 

Teachers

Students First Act 

 During the year

• Not addressed

Teacher o 30 days’ notice of recommendation

• Due process

o Teacher can give written statement

• Recommendation & vote

o Board votes, pay ends

 End of the year

Classified Employees

o Recommendation and vote o June 15 (or 30th) in year 2

• Recommendation & vote

o Last day of school in year 3

• 3 year anniversary • 15 days’ notice (pay)

Classified employee  Recommendation & vote  Prior to June 15 (or 30th) of 3rd consecutive year  15 days’ notice (pay)


Termination of Tenured/Nonprobationary Employees Teacher Tenure Act/ Fair Dismissal Act 

Grounds

Students First Act 

Grounds

• justifiable decrease in the number of positions

• justifiable decrease in the number of positions

• incompetency

• incompetency

• insubordination

• insubordination

• neglect of duty

• neglect of duty

• immorality

• immorality

• failure to perform duties in a satisfactory manner

• failure to perform duties in a satisfactory manner

• other good and just cause

• other good and just cause


Termination of Tenured/Nonprobationary Employees Teacher Tenure Act/ Fair Dismissal Act

Students First Act

Notice of recommendation

Notice of recommendation

Board conference (optional)

Full Board hearing

Board vote

Board vote

Contest

Contest

Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service

Retired Alabama judge

Hearing

Full hearing

Decision

Decision

Right to CCA appeal

Appeal with CCA approval


Termination of Tenured/Nonprobationary Employees Teacher Tenure Act/ Fair Dismissal Act 

Decision

Students First Act 

• No weight given to board 

Pay continues • Average of 271 days from vote to decision

Decision • Deference to board

Pay continues • 75 days or until decision, whichever is first


REDUCTION IN FORCE/ PARTIAL CANCELLATION


Reduction in Force/ Partial Cancellation Teacher Tenure Act/ Fair Dismissal Act 

Partial terminations

Students First Act 

• Same procedure as termination 

Partial terminations • No longer covered

Actions due to RIF

 Prospective

• Unclear if covered

 Recommendation & vote  Similarly situated employees 

Actions due to RIF • No longer covered  Comply with policy


SUSPENSIONS


Suspension of Employees Teacher Tenure Act/ Fair Dismissal Act 

7 days or less Notice Conference (optional) Recommendation & vote Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service • Decision • Suspension Effective

Students First Act 

• • • •

8 days or more • • •

Same as termination Decision Suspension Effective

20 days or less • Notice • Conference • Recommendation & vote • Effective immediately

More than 20 days • Same as termination  Pay cutoff 75 days or decision, whichever comes first


OTHER IMPORTANT CHANGES


Other Changes Teacher Tenure Act/ Fair Dismissal Act

Students First Act

Criminal stays

No criminal stays

Pay cutoff immediately

Pay cutoff immediately

• Only classified  Only moral turpitude

• All employees  Moral turpitude  Immorality  Abandonment of job  Incarceration  Neglect of duty


Loss of Certification Teacher Tenure Act ď ą

Full termination hearing

Students First Act ď ą

Summarily terminated


www.alabamaschoolboards.org


QUESTIONS???


OPEN MEETINGS ACT


Open Meetings Act 

What is a “meeting”? • Prearranged gathering of a quorum  time and place set by law;  e.g. annual meeting  exercise its powers; or  expenditure of public funds; or • Prearranged or not gathering of a quorum when members deliberate specific matters


Open Meetings Act contd. 

What is NOT a “meeting”? • As long as there’s no deliberation on specific matters • • • • • •

Social gatherings Conventions Conferences Training programs Press conferences Media events

• State or federal officials  to report or obtain information; or  seek support  can be electronic or in person


Open Meetings Act contd. 

What is “deliberation”? ◦ exchange of information or ideas ◦ quorum of members ◦ arrive at or influence a decision ◦ how to vote at a later time


Open Meetings Act contd. 

Requirements  Notice  Time, date & place  Bulletin board at Central Office

 Preliminary Agenda or General Description  As soon as available

 Timing  7 Days • Meeting required by law  1 Day • Special called meeting  1 Hour • Accept resignation • Emergency to prevent physical injury or property damage


Open Meetings Act contd. 

9 Reasons to Call Executive Session  General Reputation and Character, Job Performance, or Mental/Physical Condition Salaries / Compensation must be in public Job Performance must be public if employee files Statement of Economic Interests

• • • •

Superintendent Any employee making over $50,000/year

 Formal Complaints or Charges Against an Individual or Legal Entity  Discussion with the Government Body’s Attorney  Security Plans and Measures  Criminal Investigation and the Identity of an Undercover Agent or Informer  Negotiations to Buy / Sell / Lease Real Property  Preliminary Negotiations in Trade Competition  Negotiations Between The Body and a Group of Public Employees  Discuss and Vote Upon a Public or Contested Case Hearing


Open Meetings Act contd.  Executive

Session

◦ Never required

 Procedure ◦ Convene an open meeting ◦ Enter a motion stating the reason for executive session


Open Meetings Act contd. Receive a written or oral declaration if necessary  Discussion with the body’s attorney concerning options for, and ramification of, litigation, mediation, or arbitration  Discussions that would disclose the identity of an undercover informant or that focus on criminal investigations of non-public officials  Discussions concerning the negotiations between the body and a group of public employees

Vote to go into executive session  Vote in public  Record individual votes in minutes

Enter statement concerning reconvention


Open Meetings Act contd. 

Violations • • • •

Notice Meeting procedures Executive session Other violations

 Challenge • Civil action • Media • Alabama citizen • Attorney General • District Attorney

 Penalty • Invalidate actions • $1000 or ½ monthly board salary • Board cannot pay penalty for members


QUESTIONS?


THANK YOU FOR LISTENING! Jayne Harrell Williams jhwilliams@hillhillcarter.com


PR BASICS - Alabama Students First Act and Open Meetings Act