Yesterday Senators Jerry Tillman (R-Montgomery) Fletcher Hartsell (R- Cabarrus) and Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) introduced legislation (S. 423) to have the Joint Education Oversight Committee begin a study of the teacher tenure law. Such studies are typically a precursor to significant legislative changes in the upcoming session. The bill was sponsored by 25 Senators — half the membership of the Senate.
Teacher tenure is covered in Chapter 115C of the state statues. In North Carolina teachers can receive tenure after four years. A tenured employee is one who has career status and can only be removed for violating one or more of the following reasons (See G.S. 115C-325 (e)(1):
a. Inadequate performance.
d. Neglect of duty.
e. Physical or mental incapacity
f. Habitual or excessive use of alcohol or nonmedical use of a controlled substance as defined in Article 5 of Chapter 90 of the General Statutes.
g. Conviction of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude.
h. Advocating the overthrow of the government of the United States or of the State of North Carolina by force, violence, or other unlawful means.
i. Failure to fulfill the duties and responsibilities imposed upon teachers or school administrators by the General Statutes of this State.
j. Failure to comply with such reasonable requirements as the board may prescribe.
k. Any cause which constitutes grounds for the revocation of the career teacher’s teaching certificate or the career school administrator’s administrator certificate.
l. A justifiable decrease in the number of positions due to district reorganization, decreased enrollment, or decreased funding, provided that there is compliance with subdivision (2).
m. Failure to maintain his certificate in a current status.
n. Failure to repay money owed to the State in accordance with the provisions of Article 60, Chapter 143 of the General Statutes.
o. Providing false information or knowingly omitting a material fact on an application for employment or in response to a preemployment inquiry.
In addition to teachers, the current tenure law also allows school social workers, guidance counselors, speech-language pathologists, audiologists, vocational education teachers and school psychologists to obtain tenure.