State Tenure Commission Lacks Jurisdiction in Layoff and Recall Cases

The Michigan Supreme Court recently issued an order denying the MEA’s applica­tion for leave to appeal in Baumgartner v Perry Pub Schs, Docket No. 151479 (July 10, 2015). The Court’s order lets stand the Court of Appeals’ ruling that the State Tenure Commission lacks jurisdiction to hear layoff and recall cases.  We first reported on the Baumgartner decision in the March 26, 2015 edition of School Law Notes.

The Baumgartner decision is now a final ruling, precluding teachers from challenging layoff and recall decisions in the State Tenure Commission.  Teachers are limited to chal­lenging layoff and recall decisions under Sec­tion 1248 of the Revised School Code in circuit court, where the exclusive remedy is reinstatement beginning 30 days after the circuit court’s decision. Teachers are pre­vented under Section 1248 from acquiring lost wages, benefits, or any other economic damages arising from a wrongful layoff and recall decision.

School officials must follow a board-approved layoff and recall policy that incor­porates the requirements of Section 1248. School officials must also comply with the teacher evaluation requirements of Section 1249. If school officials fail to meet the re­quirements of Sections 1248 and 1249, a cir­cuit court could reverse a teacher layoff and recall decision and reinstate the teacher to his or her former position.