Administrator Nonrenewal Deadlines Quickly Approaching

Revised School Code Section 1229 establishes deadlines, timelines, and procedural requirements for nonrenewing an administrator’s (but not a superintendent’s) expiring employment contract. Because the statutory nonrenewal timeline requires at least 90 days lead time before the employment contract’s termination date (i.e., April 1 for a contract ending June 30), we recommend starting the nonrenewal process no later than March 15 for contracts that will expire on June 30. Failure to follow the statutory nonrenewal process will result in an automatically renewed administrator contract for one additional year.

Nonrenewing the contract of an administrator other than a superintendent requires a multi-step process. To start that process, at least 90 days before the employment contract’s termination date, the superintendent or designee must notify the administrator in writing that a recommendation is being made to the board that it “consider” the administrator’s nonrenewal. The administrator may request that the board consider the matter in closed session. The board may convene in a closed session only at the affected administrator’s request.

The board then must review the recommendation and decide whether to consider the administrator’s nonrenewal. All decisions must be made in an open session. If the board decides to consider the administrator’s nonrenewal, it must, in open session, approve a resolution that includes specific reasons the board is considering nonrenewal. A board may only nonrenew an administrator’s contract for a reason that is not arbitrary or capricious.

Next, the board must notify the administrator that it has decided to consider nonrenewal by providing the administrator a copy of the resolution and a written statement of the underlying reason(s) for nonrenewal, if not already listed in the resolution. The board must provide these documents to the administrator at least 30 days before the meeting at which the board will determine whether to nonrenew.

Before making the nonrenewal determination, the board must provide the administrator an opportunity to meet with a majority of the board at a duly called board meeting to discuss the stated reason(s) for nonrenewal. Notice of this opportunity must be provided to the affected administrator. The meeting may occur in closed session at the administrator’s request; although the board must vote to nonrenew in open session.

A nonrenewal determination must be made at least 60 days before the administrator’s contract expires (i.e., by May 1 for a contract ending June 30), and the school must provide the administrator with notice of the determination within that same 60-day period.

Nonrenewing a superintendent’s contract is less complicated. RSC Section 1229(1) requires only that the board take action and notify the superintendent of nonrenewal in writing at least 90 days before the superintendent’s contract expires.

School officials should review individual employment contracts for all administrators for any additional terms that could complicate or preclude nonrenewal. For example, a contract may contain additional notice requirements or an “evergreen” clause, which could perpetually extend a contract without affirmative board action.

Finally, an administrator’s teacher tenure rights also must be considered. If the administrator has a current teaching certificate and has earned teacher tenure in the nonrenewing school, that administrator may have residual tenure rights. That may include the right to be placed in a teaching position for which the administrator is certified and qualified.

School officials are encouraged to verify whether an administrator has an active teaching certificate and track the expiration dates of each administrator contract to avoid an unintentional contract renewal.