Like all employees, non-tenured teachers have legitimate needs to be absent on authorized leave due to sickness, maternity, and other reasons. Also, large numbers of non-tenured teachers are assigned to part-time positions. At the same time, the school administration has less opportunity to observe and monitor non-tenured teachers who are not present at school on a regular, full-time basis. To balance these interests, the tenure law has special provisions to deal with leaves of absence and part-time employment.
- A non-tenured teacher may be absent on authorized leave for up to 90 student school days in any year without losing any tenure credit. Thus, a full-time teacher who resumes teaching in January after being absent on leave from September through December has not missed more than 90 student school days in that year and, if he/she teaches the remaining 6 months of the school year, will earn a full 10 months toward tenure.
- If a teacher in his/her 4th year of employment is non-renewed prior to May 1 in the last year, he/she would be allowed to complete the remainder of the school year, and would technically have finished the entire 40 months of work needed for tenure. However, in that case, the Superintendent, by virtue of the nonrenewal, would not have offered the teacher a contract to return for the following year, so the teacher would not attain tenure upon completing the 40th school month of teaching.
- A non-tenured teacher who is absent on authorized leave for more than 90 school days in a year earns tenure credit for only the days he/she was not absent. Using 18 school days as the standard or average number of days in a school month, the total number of school days the teacher actually worked in the entire school year is divided by 18, producing the number of months of tenure credit the teacher earned that year. Fractions are rounded up or down based on the 18 day figure.
- Part-time non-tenured teachers, who are in positions paying 50% or more of the full-time salary for the position, earn full month-for-month tenure credit in the same fashion as full-time teachers.
- Part-time non-tenured teachers, in positions paying less than 50% but at least 25% of the full-time salary for the position, must work 2 school months to earn a single school month of tenure credit. Their tenure track is thus doubled from 4 to 8 years.
- Part-time non-tenured teachers, in positions paying less than 25% of the full-time salary for the position, must work 3 school months to earn 1 school month of tenure credit. Their tenure track is thus 12 school years.
- These calculations may have to be “juggled” if the assignment of the non-tenured part-timer changes from year to year (or even from month to month.) For example, a teacher who starts in September as a full-timer, but is reduced to a 0.4 position starting in January, will earn 4 months toward tenure for September-December, but will move to two-for-one status from January-June and will earn only 3 tenure months for that period. The teacher will thus earn 7 of the 40 required months for that particular year.
If you are a public school employer in Connecticut and have questions about eductation laws in the state, contact the attorneys at Kainen, Escalera & McHale. Each of us has over 20 years of experience in all aspects of employment and labor law and can help you with this complicated topic. Please contact us if we can help you.
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