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The Florida Statutes

The 2013 Florida Statutes

Title XLVIII
K-20 EDUCATION CODE
Chapter 1012
PERSONNEL
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F.S. 1012.33
11012.33 Contracts with instructional staff, supervisors, and school principals.
(1)2(a) Each person employed as a member of the instructional staff in any district school system shall be properly certified pursuant to s. 1012.56 or s. 1012.57 or employed pursuant to s. 1012.39 and shall be entitled to and shall receive a written contract as specified in this section. All such contracts, except continuing contracts as specified in subsection (4), shall contain provisions for dismissal during the term of the contract only for just cause. Just cause includes, but is not limited to, the following instances, as defined by rule of the State Board of Education: immorality, misconduct in office, incompetency, two consecutive annual performance evaluation ratings of unsatisfactory under s. 1012.34, two annual performance evaluation ratings of unsatisfactory within a 3-year period under s. 1012.34, three consecutive annual performance evaluation ratings of needs improvement or a combination of needs improvement and unsatisfactory under s. 1012.34, gross insubordination, willful neglect of duty, or being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea of guilty to, regardless of adjudication of guilt, any crime involving moral turpitude.
(b) A supervisor or school principal shall be properly certified and shall receive a written contract as specified in this section. Such contract may be for an initial period not to exceed 3 years, subject to annual review and renewal. The first 97 days of an initial contract is a probationary period. During the probationary period, the employee may be dismissed without cause or may resign from the contractual position without breach of contract. After the first 3 years, the contract may be renewed for a period not to exceed 3 years and shall contain provisions for dismissal during the term of the contract only for just cause, in addition to such other provisions as are prescribed by the district school board.
(2) Any person so employed on the basis of a written offer of a specific position by a duly authorized agent of the district school board for a stated term of service at a specified salary, and who accepted such offer by telegram or letter or by signing the regular contract form, who violates the terms of such contract or agreement by leaving his or her position without first being released from his or her contract or agreement by the district school board of the district in which the person is employed shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the Education Practices Commission. The district school board shall take official action on such violation and shall furnish a copy of its official minutes to the Commissioner of Education.
(3) A professional service contract shall be renewed each year unless:
(a) The district school superintendent, after receiving the recommendations required by s. 1012.34, charges the employee with unsatisfactory performance and notifies the employee of performance deficiencies as required by s. 1012.34; or
(b) The employee receives two consecutive annual performance evaluation ratings of unsatisfactory under s. 1012.34, two annual performance evaluation ratings of unsatisfactory within a 3-year period under s. 1012.34, or three consecutive annual performance evaluation ratings of needs improvement or a combination of needs improvement and unsatisfactory under s. 1012.34.
(4)(a) An employee who had continuing contract status prior to July 1, 1984, shall be entitled to retain such contract and all rights arising therefrom as prescribed by rules of the State Board of Education adopted pursuant to s. 231.36, Florida Statutes (1981), unless the employee voluntarily relinquishes his or her continuing contract.
(b) Any member of the district administrative or supervisory staff and any member of the instructional staff, including any school principal, who is under continuing contract may be dismissed or may be returned to annual contract status for another 3 years in the discretion of the district school board, at the end of the school year, when a recommendation to that effect is submitted in writing to the district school board on or before April 1 of any school year, giving good and sufficient reasons therefor, by the district school superintendent, by the school principal if his or her contract is not under consideration, or by a majority of the district school board. The employee whose contract is under consideration shall be duly notified in writing by the party or parties preferring the charges at least 5 days prior to the filing of the written recommendation with the district school board, and such notice shall include a copy of the charges and the recommendation to the district school board. The district school board shall proceed to take appropriate action. Any decision adverse to the employee shall be made by a majority vote of the full membership of the district school board. Any such decision adverse to the employee may be appealed by the employee pursuant to s. 120.68.
(c) Any member of the district administrative or supervisory staff and any member of the instructional staff, including any school principal, who is under continuing contract may be suspended or dismissed at any time during the school year; however, the charges against him or her must be based on immorality, misconduct in office, incompetency, gross insubordination, willful neglect of duty, drunkenness, or being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea of guilty to, regardless of adjudication of guilt, any crime involving moral turpitude, as these terms are defined by rule of the State Board of Education. Whenever such charges are made against an employee of the district school board, the district school board may suspend such person without pay; but, if the charges are not sustained, he or she shall be immediately reinstated, and his or her back salary shall be paid. In cases of suspension by the district school board or by the district school superintendent, the district school board shall determine upon the evidence submitted whether the charges have been sustained and, if the charges are sustained, shall determine either to dismiss the employee or fix the terms under which he or she may be reinstated. If such charges are sustained by a majority vote of the full membership of the district school board and the employee is discharged, his or her contract of employment shall be canceled. Any decision adverse to the employee may be appealed by the employee pursuant to s. 120.68, provided the appeal is filed within 30 days after the decision of the district school board.
(5) If workforce reduction is needed, a district school board must retain employees at a school or in the school district based upon educational program needs and the performance evaluations of employees within the affected program areas. Within the program areas requiring reduction, the employee with the lowest performance evaluations must be the first to be released; the employee with the next lowest performance evaluations must be the second to be released; and reductions shall continue in like manner until the needed number of reductions has occurred. A district school board may not prioritize retention of employees based upon seniority.
(6)(a) Any member of the instructional staff, excluding an employee specified in subsection (4), may be suspended or dismissed at any time during the term of the contract for just cause as provided in paragraph (1)(a). The district school board must notify the employee in writing whenever charges are made against the employee and may suspend such person without pay; but, if the charges are not sustained, the employee shall be immediately reinstated, and his or her back salary shall be paid. If the employee wishes to contest the charges, the employee must, within 15 days after receipt of the written notice, submit a written request for a hearing. Such hearing shall be conducted at the district school board’s election in accordance with one of the following procedures:
1. A direct hearing conducted by the district school board within 60 days after receipt of the written appeal. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of ss. 120.569 and 120.57. A majority vote of the membership of the district school board shall be required to sustain the district school superintendent’s recommendation. The determination of the district school board shall be final as to the sufficiency or insufficiency of the grounds for termination of employment; or
2. A hearing conducted by an administrative law judge assigned by the Division of Administrative Hearings of the Department of Management Services. The hearing shall be conducted within 60 days after receipt of the written appeal in accordance with chapter 120. The recommendation of the administrative law judge shall be made to the district school board. A majority vote of the membership of the district school board shall be required to sustain or change the administrative law judge’s recommendation. The determination of the district school board shall be final as to the sufficiency or insufficiency of the grounds for termination of employment.

Any such decision adverse to the employee may be appealed by the employee pursuant to s. 120.68, provided such appeal is filed within 30 days after the decision of the district school board.

(b) Any member of the district administrative or supervisory staff, including any principal but excluding an employee specified in subsection (4), may be suspended or dismissed at any time during the term of the contract; however, the charges against him or her must be based on immorality, misconduct in office, incompetency, gross insubordination, willful neglect of duty, drunkenness, or being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea of guilty, regardless of adjudication of guilt, any crime involving moral turpitude, as these terms are defined by rule of the State Board of Education. Whenever such charges are made against an employee of the district school board, the district school board may suspend the employee without pay; but, if the charges are not sustained, he or she shall be immediately reinstated, and his or her back salary shall be paid. In cases of suspension by the district school board or by the district school superintendent, the district school board shall determine upon the evidence submitted whether the charges have been sustained and, if the charges are sustained, shall determine either to dismiss the employee or fix the terms under which he or she may be reinstated. If such charges are sustained by a majority vote of the full membership of the district school board and the employee is discharged, his or her contract of employment shall be canceled. Any decision adverse to the employee may be appealed by him or her pursuant to s. 120.68, provided such appeal is filed within 30 days after the decision of the district school board.
(7) The district school board of any given district shall grant continuing service credit for time spent performing duties as a member of the Legislature to any district employee who possesses a professional service contract, multiyear contract, or continuing contract.
(8) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a retired member may interrupt retirement and be reemployed in any public school. A member reemployed by the same district from which he or she retired may be employed on a probationary contractual basis as provided in subsection (1).
(9) Notwithstanding this section or any other law or rule to the contrary, for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 fiscal years, district school boards should not enter into a new professional service contract if the only funds available to pay such contract are from nonrecurring Federal Stabilization Funds.
History.s. 707, ch. 2002-387; s. 126, ch. 2003-1; s. 10, ch. 2004-295; s. 28, ch. 2008-108; s. 35, ch. 2009-59; s. 21, ch. 2009-209; s. 32, ch. 2010-154; s. 13, ch. 2011-1; s. 19, ch. 2011-37.
1Note.Section 19, ch. 2011-1, provides that “[t]he amendments made by this act to s. 1012.33, Florida Statutes, apply to contracts newly entered into, extended, or readopted on or after July 1, 2011, and to all contracts entered into on or after July 1, 2014.”
2Note.Section 17, ch. 2011-1, provides that “[c]hapter 2010-279, Laws of Florida, does not apply to any rulemaking required to administer this act.”