Public Education Orderly Termination
Prior to the 2012 Legislative Session, the State Board of Education and some members of the legislature were recommending the elimination of the Utah Orderly School Termination Procedures Act (Utah Code 53A-8). This act provides the minimum standard and due process for the termination of school employees.
Due in large part to the collaborative work done on Senate Bill 64, none of the various proposals to eliminate due process rights for teachers moved forward in 2012.
- The current code provides a standard of due process for public school employees to be terminated remediated in the event of sub-standard performance.
- The public perception is that public school teachers have “tenure” or perpetual employment status and underperforming employees cannot be terminated.
- Changes in the current code could diminish or improve the protections and rights that teachers are now provided depending upon how those changes are proposed.
- Elimination of due process rights could result in reduced protections for employees and the potential for increased litigation to challenge those terminations.
- Tenure does not exist for public school employees in Utah. The current “expectation of continued employment” is not a guarantee of lifetime employment but simply establishes an ongoing contract unless an employer determines an employee’s performance or behavior warrants dismissal.
- Due process does not prevent districts from dismissing ineffective educators; it simply establishes minimal standards for doing so. These standards protect good teachers from arbitrary, unfair or discriminatory practices and ensure that every teacher has access to a fair process of determining employment decisions.
Print the UEA Issue Brief on this topic (PDF)
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