This is the second part of our article concerning the rights of Georgia public school teachers relating to termination, non-renewal of contracts, demotions, reprimands and the like.
You As A Contracted Public School Employee, Teacher Or Principal Are Entitled To Proper Service:
All notices relating to suspension from duty must be served to the employee either personally, or by statutory overnight delivery, or by certified mail. Service is considered “perfected” when it is deposited in the United States mail, sent with sufficient postage stamps, and delivered to the last known address of the employee.
You Have A Right To An Attorney Present:
Any teacher, principal, or other public school district contract employee against whom such charges are brought shall be entitled to be represented by counsel and, if upon request, can also subpoena witnesses and production of documents.
The Requirements Of The Hearing:
(1) The hearing is conducted in front of the local school board, or they can designate a tribunal made up of between three to five impartial people who have expertise in academics. This tribunal will then submit findings and recommendations to the local school board who will make the final decision.
(2) The hearing will be transcribed and the board is responsible to pay for that expense. The transcript does not need to be typed unless the decision is appealed to the State Board of Education which in that event whomever is making the appeal must pay.
(3) An oath must be taken by all witnesses during the hearing to tell the truth.
(4) All questions relating to legal matters such as admissibility of evidence is decided by the chairperson or presiding officer and can be appealed. In all hearings, the burden of proof shall be on the school system, and it shall have the right to present the opening and closing.
Decision And Appeals:
The local board must make a decision at the hearing or within five days of the hearing. If a tribunal hears the matter they must offer their recommendations within five days and then the school board has ten days to make their final decision. Appeals can be taken to the state board of education.
If you are a teacher or principal who finds yourself in this situation, don’t go it alone. Remember, you are entitled to have an attorney represent you at the hearing.
For further information or assistance in dealing with these types of hearings, contact Williams Oinonen LLC at 404-654-0288.