Reminder: Administrator Nonrenewal Timelines

As the end of the school year approaches, schools planning to nonrenew an administrator’s employment contract must take steps to comply with the timelines and procedural requirements contained in Section 1229 of the Revised School Code. Failure to follow the statutory nonrenewal process (or provisions in an employment contract) may result in automatic contract renewal for an additional year.

Section 1229 provides that school districts and ISDs “may employ assistant superintendents, princi­pals, assistant principals, guidance directors, and other administrators,” and such employment must be based upon a written contract that rolls over for a one-year period at the expiration of the written contract unless nonrenewed in accordance with the provisions of Section 1229.

The nonrenewal process is very prescriptive.  To effectuate nonrenewal, the school must follow a strict regimen that requires several board resolutions, no­tices that must be sent to the affected administrator, a written statement identifying the reasons why the board is considering nonrenewal, and an opportunity for the affected administrator to meet with a majority of the board members to discuss the reasons for nonrenewal. These actions must be completed within the timeline and in the order prescribed by Section 1229.

Strict adherence to the Section 1229 timelines is critical, as a school must give the affected administra­tor notice that the board is “considering” nonrenewal along with a written statement of the reasons for nonrenewal at least 90 days before the affected administrator’s contract expires.

Section 1229 also requires a period of 30 days before the board can make a final determination on whether to nonrenew the affected administrator. During this period, the affected administrator must be given the opportunity to meet with a majority of the board members to discuss the stated reasons for the nonrenewal.

The school board then must make its final determination and give the administrator notice of that decision not later than 60 days before the affected administrator’s contract expires. Under Section 1229, a school may not nonrenew an administrator’s employment contract for a reason that is “arbitrary or capricious.”

Many variables may affect the timelines and procedures to nonrenew an administrator’s contract, so it is important to start preparing for the process as soon as possible, but we recommend no later than March 15. Your Thrun Law Firm labor and employ­ment attorney can help navigate the nonrenewal pro­cess and provide the resolutions, notices, and other documents to complete the process.