CHAPTER 39

PROCEDURES FOR TERMINATION OF SERVICES OF PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEES

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14, DELAWARE CODE, BY ADDING THERETO A NEW CHAPTER ENTITLED "PROCEDURES FOR THE TERMINATION OF SERVICES OF PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEES", AND BY REPEALING CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF TITLE 14.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Title 14, Delaware Code, is amended by repealing all of sections 747, 748, 977, and 978 thereof, and by adding thereto a new chapter to be designated as Chapter 14 as follows:

CHAPTER 14

PROCEDURES FOR THE TERMINATION OF SERVICES

OF PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEES.

Subchapter I--General Provisions § 1401. Definitions

As used in this chapter--"Board" means a Board of Education of a Special School District, a Board of School Trustees, the Board of Public Education in Wilmington, and the State Board of Education;

"Teacher" means and includes all persons certificated to teach and who are employed within the free public school system of this State as teachers, instructors, principals, superintendents, supervisors, or in any other educational position for which the employing board requires certification.

§ 1402. Formal Communications

All formal communications between the teacher and the terminating board provided for in this chapter shall be by registered mail.

§ 1403. Application of chapter

The Provisions set forth in Sections 1411, 1412, 1413 and 1414 hereof covering reasons for termination, notice of termination, hearings before a Board and judicial review shall apply to all teachers except those employed temporarily to replace professional personnel on leave of absence, those holding temporary certificates, and those not having completed three years of service in the State, two years of which shall be in the employ of the terminating board.

§ 1404. Effective date

This Act shall become effective on July 1, 1956.

Subchapter II--Termination of Services at the End of the School Year

§ 1410. Notice of intention to terminate services

In the event that any board desires to dispense with the services of any teacher, such board shall give notice in writing to such teacher on or before the first day of May of any year of its intention to terminate said teacher's services at the end of such school year. Such written notice shall state the reasons for such intended termination of services, and shall be accompanied by a copy of this act.

§ 1411. Reasons for termination

Termination at the end of the school year shall be for one or more of the following reasons: immorality; misconduct in office; incompetency; disloyalty; neglect of duty; willful and persistent insubordination; a reduction in the number of teachers required as a result of decreased enrollment or a decrease in education services. The board shall have a power to suspend any teacher pending a hearing if the situation warrants such action.

§ 1412. Notice of termination

In the event that a teacher fails to exercise his right to a hearing, as herein provided, the aforesaid notice of intent to terminate services shall be construed as a notice of termination.

§ 1413. Hearing by terminating board

In the event that a teacher so notified shall, within ten (10) days after the receipt of written notice of intention to terminate services, request in writing an opportunity to be heard by the terminating board, the board shall set a time for such hearing to be held within twenty-one (21) days after the date of receipt of said written request, and the board shall give the teacher at least fifteen (15) days' notice in writing of the time and place of such hearing. The hearing shall be conducted by a majority of the members of the board and shall be confined to the aforementioned written reasons as stated in the board's written notice of the board's intention to terminate the teacher's services. The conduct of such hearings and such rules of procedure as may be found necessary shall be left entirely to the discretion of the Board provided that:

(a) The teacher shall have the option to indicate whether or not he wishes the hearing to be public, by so stating in his written request for a hearing, otherwise the hearing shall be private.

(b) The teacher may be represented by counsel.

(c) The teacher and the Board may subpoena witnesses. Subpoenas shall be issued by the Secretary of the Board upon written request, and such subpoenas shall be directed to the Sheriff of the County where the witness resides or is employed within the State, and upon service of such subpoena, the witness shall be compelled to appear subject to the same penalties for failure to appear that govern subpoena proceedings before the Superior Court of the State of Delaware.

(d) The teacher and the Board and counsel for each may cross-examine witnesses.

(e) Testimony before the Board shall be under oath.

(f) The Testimony to be heard shall be confined to the reasons stated in the written notice of intent to terminate service. Any evidence shall be admissable during the hearing which

is adjudged by the Board to be pertinent to the reasons contained in the written notice which the teacher received and which stated the reasons for dismissal.

(g) A stenographic record of the hearing shall be taken and prepared by a qualified court stenographer and paid for by the Board, and shall be supplied to the teacher and the Board within ten (10) days following the conclusion of the hearing.

(h) The decision of the Board shall be submitted in writing to the teacher within fifteen (15) days following the conclusion of the hearing.

() If the decision is in favor of the teacher, he shall be fully reinstated and shall receive all salary lost as a result of his temporary dismissal or suspension.

§ 1414. Judicial review

A decision of the Board shall be final and conclusive unless, within ten days after a copy thereof has been received by the teacher, the teacher appeals to the Superior Court for the county in which the teacher was employed. In case of every such appeal, the cause shall be determined by the Court from the record which shall include a certified copy of the evidence, findings and the decision of the Board, without the aid of a jury. The notice of appeal and all other matters regulating the appeal shall be in the form and according to the procedure as shall be provided by the Rules of the Superior Court. The Court shall decide all relevant questions of law and all other matters involved, and shall sustain any board action, findings and conclusions supported by substantial evidence. The Court may reverse, affirm or modify the decision of the Board or remand the cause to the Board for a rehearing. In case any cause shall be remanded to the Board for a rehearing, the procedure and the rights of all parties to such cause shall be the same as in the case of the original hearing before the Board. If the decision is in favor of the teacher, he shall be fully reinstated and shall receive all salary lost as a result of his temporary dismissal or suspension.

Subchapter III--Termination of Services During the School Year

§ 1420. Reasons for termination; rights of teacher

Termination of any teacher's services during the school year shall be for one or more of the following reasons: immorality ; misconduct in office; incompetency; disloyalty; neglect of duty, or willful and persistent insubordination. Such teacher shall be given the same opportunity to be heard and right of appeal as provided in Sections 1412, 1413, and 1414, and the board shall give notice in writing to such teacher of its intention to terminate the services of such teacher at least thirty (30) days prior to the effective date of termination. Such written notice shall state the reasons for such termination of services. The board shall have the power to suspend any teacher pending a hearing if the situation warrants such action.

Section 2. The State Board of Education shall provide in its regular budget for such sums as they shall estimate to be necessary to defray the expenses of such proceedings.

Approved April 20, 1955.