April 22, 2018
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The Florida Statutes

The 2009 Florida Statutes

Title XLVIII
K-20 EDUCATION CODE
Chapter 1012
PERSONNEL
View Entire Chapter
Section 1012.33, Florida Statutes 2009

1012.33  Contracts with instructional staff, supervisors, and school principals.--

(1)(a)  Each person employed as a member of the instructional staff in any district school system shall be properly certified pursuant to s. 1012.56 or s. 1012.57 or employed pursuant to s. 1012.39 and shall be entitled to and shall receive a written contract as specified in this section. All such contracts, except continuing contracts as specified in subsection (4), shall contain provisions for dismissal during the term of the contract only for just cause. Just cause includes, but is not limited to, the following instances, as defined by rule of the State Board of Education: immorality, misconduct in office, incompetency, gross insubordination, willful neglect of duty, or being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea of guilty to, regardless of adjudication of guilt, any crime involving moral turpitude.

(b)  A supervisor or school principal shall be properly certified and shall receive a written contract as specified in this section. Such contract may be for an initial period not to exceed 3 years, subject to annual review and renewal. The first 97 days of an initial contract is a probationary period. During the probationary period, the employee may be dismissed without cause or may resign from the contractual position without breach of contract. After the first 3 years, the contract may be renewed for a period not to exceed 3 years and shall contain provisions for dismissal during the term of the contract only for just cause, in addition to such other provisions as are prescribed by the district school board.

(2)  Any person so employed on the basis of a written offer of a specific position by a duly authorized agent of the district school board for a stated term of service at a specified salary, and who accepted such offer by telegram or letter or by signing the regular contract form, who violates the terms of such contract or agreement by leaving his or her position without first being released from his or her contract or agreement by the district school board of the district in which the person is employed shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the Education Practices Commission. The district school board shall take official action on such violation and shall furnish a copy of its official minutes to the Commissioner of Education.

(3)(a)  Each district school board shall provide a professional service contract as prescribed herein. Each member of the instructional staff who completed the following requirements prior to July 1, 1984, shall be entitled to and shall be issued a continuing contract in the form prescribed by rules of the state board pursuant to s. 231.36, Florida Statutes (1981). Each member of the instructional staff who completes the following requirements on or after July 1, 1984, shall be entitled to and shall be issued a professional service contract in the form prescribed by rules of the state board as provided herein:

1.  The member must hold a professional certificate as prescribed by s. 1012.56 and rules of the State Board of Education.

2.  The member must have completed 3 years of probationary service in the district during a period not in excess of 5 successive years, except for leave duly authorized and granted.

3.  The member must have been recommended by the district school superintendent for such contract and reappointed by the district school board based on successful performance of duties and demonstration of professional competence.

4.  For any person newly employed as a member of the instructional staff after June 30, 1997, the initial annual contract shall include a 97-day probationary period during which time the employee's contract may be terminated without cause or the employee may resign without breach of contract.

(b)  The professional service contract shall be effective at the beginning of the school fiscal year following the completion of all requirements therefor.

(c)  The period of service provided herein may be extended to 4 years when prescribed by the district school board and agreed to in writing by the employee at the time of reappointment.

(d)  A district school board may issue a continuing contract prior to July 1, 1984, and may issue a professional service contract subsequent to July 1, 1984, to any employee who has previously held a professional service contract or continuing contract in the same or another district within this state. Any employee who holds a continuing contract may, but is not required to, exchange such continuing contract for a professional service contract in the same district.

(e)  A professional service contract shall be renewed each year unless the district school superintendent, after receiving the recommendations required by s. 1012.34, charges the employee with unsatisfactory performance and notifies the employee of performance deficiencies as required by s. 1012.34. An employee who holds a professional service contract on July 1, 1997, is subject to the procedures set forth in paragraph (f) during the term of the existing professional service contract. The employee is subject to the procedures set forth in s. 1012.34(3)(d) upon the next renewal of the professional service contract; however, if the employee is notified of performance deficiencies before the next contract renewal date, the procedures of s. 1012.34(3)(d) do not apply until the procedures set forth in paragraph (f) have been exhausted and the professional service contract is subsequently renewed.

(f)  The district school superintendent shall notify an employee who holds a professional service contract on July 1, 1997, in writing, no later than 6 weeks prior to the end of the postschool conference period, of performance deficiencies which may result in termination of employment, if not corrected during the subsequent year of employment (which shall be granted for an additional year in accordance with the provisions in subsection (1)). Except as otherwise hereinafter provided, this action shall not be subject to the provisions of chapter 120, but the following procedures shall apply:

1.  On receiving notice of unsatisfactory performance, the employee, on request, shall be accorded an opportunity to meet with the district school superintendent, or his or her designee, for an informal review of the determination of unsatisfactory performance.

2.  An employee notified of unsatisfactory performance may request an opportunity to be considered for a transfer to another appropriate position, with a different supervising administrator, for the subsequent year of employment. If the request for the transfer is granted, the district school superintendent shall annually report to the department the total number of employees transferred pursuant to this subparagraph, where they were transferred, and what, if any, remediation was implemented to remediate the unsatisfactory performance.

3.  During the subsequent year, the employee shall be provided assistance and inservice training opportunities to help correct the noted performance deficiencies. The employee shall also be evaluated periodically so that he or she will be kept apprised of progress achieved.

4.  Not later than 6 weeks prior to the close of the postschool conference period of the subsequent year, the district school superintendent, after receiving and reviewing the recommendation required by s. 1012.34, shall notify the employee, in writing, whether the performance deficiencies have been corrected. If so, a new professional service contract shall be issued to the employee. If the performance deficiencies have not been corrected, the district school superintendent may notify the district school board and the employee, in writing, that the employee shall not be issued a new professional service contract; however, if the recommendation of the district school superintendent is not to issue a new professional service contract, and if the employee wishes to contest such recommendation, the employee will have 15 days from receipt of the district school superintendent's recommendation to demand, in writing, a hearing. In such hearing, the employee may raise as an issue, among other things, the sufficiency of the district school superintendent's charges of unsatisfactory performance. Such hearing shall be conducted at the district school board's election in accordance with one of the following procedures:

a.  A direct hearing conducted by the district school board within 60 days of receipt of the written appeal. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of ss. 120.569 and 120.57. A majority vote of the membership of the district school board shall be required to sustain the district school superintendent's recommendation. The determination of the district school board shall be final as to the sufficiency or insufficiency of the grounds for termination of employment; or

b.  A hearing conducted by an administrative law judge assigned by the Division of Administrative Hearings of the Department of Management Services. The hearing shall be conducted within 60 days of receipt of the written appeal in accordance with chapter 120. The recommendation of the administrative law judge shall be made to the district school board. A majority vote of the membership of the district school board shall be required to sustain or change the administrative law judge's recommendation. The determination of the district school board shall be final as to the sufficiency or insufficiency of the grounds for termination of employment.

(g)  Beginning July 1, 2001, for each employee who enters into a written contract, pursuant to this section, in a school district in which the employee was not employed as of June 30, 2001, or was employed as of June 30, 2001, but has since broken employment with that district for 1 school year or more, for purposes of pay, a district school board must recognize and accept each year of full-time public school teaching service earned in the State of Florida for which the employee received a satisfactory performance evaluation; however, an employee may voluntarily waive this provision. Instructional personnel employed pursuant to s. 121.091(9)(b) are exempt from the provisions of this paragraph.

(4)(a)  An employee who had continuing contract status prior to July 1, 1984, shall be entitled to retain such contract and all rights arising therefrom as prescribed by rules of the State Board of Education adopted pursuant to s. 231.36, Florida Statutes (1981), unless the employee voluntarily relinquishes his or her continuing contract.

(b)  Any member of the district administrative or supervisory staff and any member of the instructional staff, including any school principal, who is under continuing contract may be dismissed or may be returned to annual contract status for another 3 years in the discretion of the district school board, at the end of the school year, when a recommendation to that effect is submitted in writing to the district school board on or before April 1 of any school year, giving good and sufficient reasons therefor, by the district school superintendent, by the school principal if his or her contract is not under consideration, or by a majority of the district school board. The employee whose contract is under consideration shall be duly notified in writing by the party or parties preferring the charges at least 5 days prior to the filing of the written recommendation with the district school board, and such notice shall include a copy of the charges and the recommendation to the district school board. The district school board shall proceed to take appropriate action. Any decision adverse to the employee shall be made by a majority vote of the full membership of the district school board. Any such decision adverse to the employee may be appealed by the employee pursuant to s. 120.68.

(c)  Any member of the district administrative or supervisory staff and any member of the instructional staff, including any school principal, who is under continuing contract may be suspended or dismissed at any time during the school year; however, the charges against him or her must be based on immorality, misconduct in office, incompetency, gross insubordination, willful neglect of duty, drunkenness, or being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea of guilty to, regardless of adjudication of guilt, any crime involving moral turpitude, as these terms are defined by rule of the State Board of Education. Whenever such charges are made against an employee of the district school board, the district school board may suspend such person without pay; but, if the charges are not sustained, he or she shall be immediately reinstated, and his or her back salary shall be paid. In cases of suspension by the district school board or by the district school superintendent, the district school board shall determine upon the evidence submitted whether the charges have been sustained and, if the charges are sustained, shall determine either to dismiss the employee or fix the terms under which he or she may be reinstated. If such charges are sustained by a majority vote of the full membership of the district school board and the employee is discharged, his or her contract of employment shall be canceled. Any decision adverse to the employee may be appealed by the employee pursuant to s. 120.68, provided the appeal is filed within 30 days after the decision of the district school board.

(5)  Should a district school board have to choose from among its personnel who are on continuing contracts or professional service contracts as to which should be retained, such decisions shall be made pursuant to the terms of a collectively bargained agreement, when one exists. If no such agreement exists, the district school board shall prescribe rules to handle reductions in workforce.

(6)(a)  Any member of the instructional staff, excluding an employee specified in subsection (4), may be suspended or dismissed at any time during the term of the contract for just cause as provided in paragraph (1)(a). The district school board must notify the employee in writing whenever charges are made against the employee and may suspend such person without pay; but, if the charges are not sustained, the employee shall be immediately reinstated, and his or her back salary shall be paid. If the employee wishes to contest the charges, the employee must, within 15 days after receipt of the written notice, submit a written request for a hearing. Such hearing shall be conducted at the district school board's election in accordance with one of the following procedures:

1.  A direct hearing conducted by the district school board within 60 days after receipt of the written appeal. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of ss. 120.569 and 120.57. A majority vote of the membership of the district school board shall be required to sustain the district school superintendent's recommendation. The determination of the district school board shall be final as to the sufficiency or insufficiency of the grounds for termination of employment; or

2.  A hearing conducted by an administrative law judge assigned by the Division of Administrative Hearings of the Department of Management Services. The hearing shall be conducted within 60 days after receipt of the written appeal in accordance with chapter 120. The recommendation of the administrative law judge shall be made to the district school board. A majority vote of the membership of the district school board shall be required to sustain or change the administrative law judge's recommendation. The determination of the district school board shall be final as to the sufficiency or insufficiency of the grounds for termination of employment.

Any such decision adverse to the employee may be appealed by the employee pursuant to s. 120.68, provided such appeal is filed within 30 days after the decision of the district school board.

(b)  Any member of the district administrative or supervisory staff, including any principal but excluding an employee specified in subsection (4), may be suspended or dismissed at any time during the term of the contract; however, the charges against him or her must be based on immorality, misconduct in office, incompetency, gross insubordination, willful neglect of duty, drunkenness, or being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea of guilty, regardless of adjudication of guilt, any crime involving moral turpitude, as these terms are defined by rule of the State Board of Education. Whenever such charges are made against an employee of the district school board, the district school board may suspend the employee without pay; but, if the charges are not sustained, he or she shall be immediately reinstated, and his or her back salary shall be paid. In cases of suspension by the district school board or by the district school superintendent, the district school board shall determine upon the evidence submitted whether the charges have been sustained and, if the charges are sustained, shall determine either to dismiss the employee or fix the terms under which he or she may be reinstated. If such charges are sustained by a majority vote of the full membership of the district school board and the employee is discharged, his or her contract of employment shall be canceled. Any decision adverse to the employee may be appealed by him or her pursuant to s. 120.68, provided such appeal is filed within 30 days after the decision of the district school board.

(7)  The district school board of any given district shall grant continuing service credit for time spent performing duties as a member of the Legislature to any district employee who possesses a professional service contract, multiyear contract, or continuing contract.

(8)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a retired member may interrupt retirement and be reemployed in any public school. A member reemployed by the same district from which he or she retired may be employed on a probationary contractual basis as provided in subsection (1).

(9)  Notwithstanding this section or any other law or rule to the contrary, for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 fiscal years, district school boards should not enter into a new professional service contract if the only funds available to pay such contract are from nonrecurring Federal Stabilization Funds.

History.--s. 707, ch. 2002-387; s. 126, ch. 2003-1; s. 10, ch. 2004-295; s. 28, ch. 2008-108; s. 35, ch. 2009-59; s. 21, ch. 2009-209.

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