ARTICLE 1 - TEACHER CONTRACTS

 

21-7-101.  Short title.

 

This article shall be known and cited as the Wyoming Teacher Employment Law.

 

21-7-102.  Definitions.

 

(a)  As used in this article the following definitions shall apply:

 

(i)  "Board". - The board of trustees of any school district in the state of Wyoming offering instruction in any of the grades kindergarten through twelve (12);

 

(ii)  "Continuing Contract Teacher":

 

(A)  Any initial contract teacher who has been employed by the same school district in the state of Wyoming for a period of three (3) consecutive school years, has had his contract renewed for a fourth consecutive school year and, beginning school year 2016-2017 and each school year thereafter, has performed satisfactorily on performance evaluations implemented by the district under W.S. 21-3-110(a)(xvii) during this period of time; or

 

(B)  A teacher who has achieved continuing contract status in one (1) district, and who without lapse of time has taught two (2) consecutive school years and has had his contract renewed for a third consecutive school year by the employing school district, and, beginning school year 2016-2017 and each school year thereafter, has performed satisfactorily on performance evaluations conducted by both districts under W.S. 21-3-110(a)(xvii) during this period of time.

 

(iii)  "Dismissal". - The cancellation of any teacher's contract of employment by the board of trustees while such contract is in effect.  In the case of a continuing contract teacher, dismissal shall mean cancellation of his contract at any time other than at the end of a school year where proper notice has been given;

 

(iv)  "Initial Contract Teacher". - Any teacher who has not achieved continuing contract status;

 

(v)  "Superintendent". - The chief administrative officer of any school district;

 

(vi)  "Suspension" means the removal of a teacher from the classroom during the school year.  Unless otherwise agreed to by the teacher and the district superintendent or board, suspension shall be with, or without, pay as follows:

 

(A)  By the superintendent "with pay" pending:

 

(I)  The investigation of an allegation of misconduct which investigation shall not exceed thirty (30) days; and

 

(II)  The final action of the board following completion of the investigation under subdivision (I) of this subparagraph and, if requested, the outcome of a hearing in accordance with W.S. 21-7-110.

 

(B)  By the board "without pay" for a period not to exceed one (1) calendar year following the outcome of a hearing in accordance with W.S. 21-7-110.

 

(vii)  "Teacher". - Any person employed under contract by the board of trustees of a school district as a certified professional employee;

 

(viii)  "Termination". - The failure of the board of trustees of a school district in Wyoming to reemploy a teacher at the end of a school year in any given year;

 

(ix)  "Repealed by Laws 2011, Ch. 182, 2.

 

21-7-103.  Absences and leaves not considered interruptions in service.

 

Absences and leaves of absence approved by the employing board shall not be considered as interruptions in service for purposes of determining continuing contract status.

 

21-7-104.  Employment of continuing contract teachers on continuing basis; salary increases.

 

(a)  Subject to satisfactory performance evaluation under W.S. 21-3-110(a)(xviii), a continuing contract teacher shall be employed by each school district on a continuing basis from year to year without annual contract renewal at a salary determined by the board of trustees of each district, said salary subject to increases from time to time as provided for in the salary provisions adopted by the board.

 

(b)  Any teacher hired by a Wyoming school district shall receive credit in accordance with that district's salary schedule for all prior years of service obtained as a teacher in any Wyoming school district or as a teacher in the regional developmental preschool system defined by W.S. 21-2-701(a)(iii).

 

21-7-105.  Employment of initial contract teachers on annual basis; notice of termination to such teachers.

 

An initial contract teacher who has taught in the system continuously for a period of at least ninety (90) days shall be hired on an annual basis and shall be notified in writing of the reasons for termination, if such is the case, no later than April 15 of each year.  An initial contract teacher's employment may be terminated for any reason not specifically prohibited by law, and a board is not limited to the reasons set forth in W.S. 21-7-110(a). The notice of termination shall not be disseminated to the public or to prospective employers absent the teacher's consent.  Nothing contained in this section shall limit the use of the notice in any hearing.

 

21-7-106.  Notice of recommendation of termination to teacher; when termination effective.

 

(a)  A continuing contract teacher shall be notified of a recommendation of termination by the superintendent or any member of the board designated by the superintendent or designated by the board pursuant to a majority vote of the board by giving the teacher written notice together with written reasons for termination on or before April 15 of any year.  Upon receipt of notice, the teacher may request a hearing on the recommendation before an independent hearing officer through the office of administrative hearings as provided under W.S. 21-7-110.

 

(b)  If ordered by the board under W.S. 21-7-110(g), termination under recommendation shall be effective at the end of the school year in the year in which notice of termination is given.

 

21-7-107.  Resignation of teachers.

 

Any teacher may resign his position, effective at the end of the school year, by giving written notice on or before May 15 of any year, to the superintendent of schools or any other designated official, of his desire not to be employed by the school district for the following year.

 

21-7-108.  Repealed by Laws 1993, ch. 219, 2.

 

21-7-109.  When contract offered to and accepted by initial contract teacher.

 

The board must offer a contract for the ensuing year to each initial contract teacher if such is to be offered by April 15, and it must be accepted by May 15 of each year or the position will be declared open.

 

21-7-110.  Suspension or dismissal of teachers; notice; hearing; independent hearing officer; board review and decision; appeal.

 

(a)  The board may suspend or dismiss any teacher, or terminate any continuing contract teacher, for any of the following reasons:

 

(i)  Incompetency;

 

(ii)  Neglect of duty;

 

(iii)  Immorality including, without limitation, engaging in conduct with a student which would be a violation of W.S. 6-2-314 through 6-2-318, 12-6-101(a) or 35-7-1036;

 

(iv)  Insubordination;

 

(v)  Physical incapacity to perform job duties even with reasonable accommodation;

 

(vi)  Failure to perform duties in a satisfactory manner;

 

(vii)  Beginning school year 2016-2017 and each school year thereafter, inadequate performance as determined through performance evaluation tied to student academic growth for at least two (2) consecutive years completed in accordance with W.S. 21-3-110(a)(xvii) through (xix);

 

(viii)  Conviction of a felony; and

 

(ix)  Any other good or just cause relating to the educational process.

 

(b)  Suspension or dismissal proceedings shall be initiated by the superintendent or any member of the board designated by the superintendent or designated by the board pursuant to a majority vote of the board delivering to the teacher a written notice of suspension or dismissal, together with written reasons.

 

(c)  Any continuing contract teacher receiving notice of a recommendation of termination under W.S. 21-7-106(a), or any teacher against whom dismissal or suspension proceedings are instituted, is entitled to a hearing before an independent hearing officer provided through the office of administrative hearings on the recommendation for termination or the reasons for dismissal or suspension, upon submission of a written request to the superintendent.  The request for hearing shall be given within seven (7) days after receipt of notice of termination under W.S. 21-7-106(a) or after receiving notice of dismissal or suspension under subsection (b) of this section.  Expenses of the hearing officer shall be paid by the school district in accordance with W.S. 9-2-2202(b)(ii).

 

(d)  Within five (5) days after selection, the hearing officer shall set the date for hearing and notify the teacher and superintendent of the hearing date, time and location.  In no event shall the hearing commence on a date later than forty-five (45) days after notice under W.S. 21-7-106(a) or subsection (b) of this section, as applicable.  The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with contested case procedures specified under W.S. 9-2-2202(b).  All school district records pertaining to the teacher shall be made available to the hearing officer.

 

(e)  At the hearing, the superintendent shall have the burden of proving that the recommendation for termination is based upon reasons provided in the notice of termination submitted pursuant to W.S. 21-7-106(a) or that suspension or dismissal is based upon reasons specified in the notice given under subsection (b) of this section, as applicable.

 

(f)  Repealed by Laws 2011, Ch. 182, 2.

 

(g)  The board shall review the findings of fact and recommendation submitted by the hearing officer and within twenty (20) days after receipt, issue a written order to either terminate, suspend or dismiss the teacher, or to retain the teacher.  If the board terminates, suspends or dismisses the teacher's employment over a recommendation by the hearing officer for retention, the written order of the board shall include a conclusion together with reasons supported by the record.  A copy of the order shall be provided to the teacher and a copy shall be entered into the school district records pertaining to the teacher.  Any action by the board pursuant to this subsection shall be approved by a majority of the duly elected members of the board.

 

(h)  Appeals may be taken from the order of the board to the district court as provided by the Wyoming Administrative Procedure Act.  An electronic recording of hearing proceedings may serve as the official transcript but upon appeal, the district court may request a written transcript of the proceedings or any portion of the proceedings.  The cost of transcribing the record shall be borne equally by the teacher and the school district.

 

21-7-111.  Inapplicability of provisions.

 

(a)  Nothing in this article shall prohibit:

 

(i)  The transfer of a teacher within a school system to a position of equal or greater salary;

 

(ii)  The retirement of a teacher in accordance with an established policy of retirement;

 

(iii)  The reduction of a salary of a teacher as part of a general salary reduction applicable to at least fifty percent (50%) of the teachers employed by a school district;

 

(iv)  The termination of the contract of a teacher at the end of current school year because of a decrease in the size of faculty due to decreased enrollment, combining of school districts or an event beyond the control of the board if notice of termination is given pursuant to W.S. 21-7-105 and 21-7-106(a) except the request for a hearing does not apply;

 

(v)  The termination of extra services or duties together with a corresponding termination of any pay for such extra services.

 

(b)  Repealed by Laws 2011, Ch. 182, 2.

 

21-7-112.  Effect on existing contracts.

 

The contracts of all teachers in the state of Wyoming from and after July 1, 2012, shall be subject to the policies, rules, and regulations of the school district not in conflict with this law or the other laws of the state of Wyoming.

 

21-7-113.  Application to teachers presently employed.

 

The provisions of this article shall apply to all teachers who are teaching in Wyoming on and after July 1, 2012, and shall apply regardless of whether the teacher was employed prior to July 1, 2012 as a teacher in Wyoming.

 

21-7-114.  Repealed by Laws 2011, Ch. 182, 2.