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CSHB 217(L&C): "An Act relating to teacher tenure, teacher layoff and rehire rights, and to the right of tenured teachers to judicial review of decisions of nonretention or dismissal; and relating to retirement for certain employees of school districts and regional educational attendance areas."

00 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 217(L&C)                                                                                          
01 "An Act relating to teacher tenure, teacher layoff and rehire rights, and to the                                        
02 right of tenured teachers to judicial review of decisions of nonretention or                                            
03 dismissal; and relating to retirement for certain employees of school districts and                                     
04 regional educational attendance areas."                                                                                 
05 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
06    * Section 1.   AS  14.20.147(b) is amended to read:                                                                  
07     (b)  When a school operated by a federal agency is transferred to or absorbed                                      
08 into a new or existing school district, the teachers shall also be transferred if mutually                            
09 agreed by the teacher or teachers and the school board of the new or existing district.                                 
10 A teacher transferred from a federal agency school that [, WHICH] does not have an                                    
11 official salary schedule or teacher tenure in the same manner as a public school district                               
12 in the state [,] shall be placed on a position on the salary schedule of the absorbing                                  
13 district; the salary may not be less than the teacher would have received in the federal                                
14 agency school.  If the teacher taught four [TWO] or more years in the federal agency                                  
01 school and, at the time of transfer, had a valid Alaska teaching certificate, that teacher                              
02 shall be placed on tenure in the absorbing district.                                                                    
03    * Sec. 2.  AS 14.20.150 is amended to read:                                                                          
04     Sec. 14.20.150.  ACQUISITION OF TENURE RIGHTS.  (a)  A teacher                                                     
05 acquires tenure rights in a district when the teacher                                                                   
06          (1)  possesses a standard teaching certificate; and                                                         
07          (2)  has been employed as a teacher in the same district continuously                                         
08 for four [TWO] full school years and is reemployed for the school year immediately                                    
09 following the four [TWO] full school years.                                                                           
10     (b)  The tenure rights acquired under (a) of this section become effective on the                                  
11 first day the teacher performs teaching services in the district during the school year                                 
12 immediately following the four [TWO] full school years.                                                               
13    * Sec. 3.  AS 14.20.160 is amended to read:                                                                          
14  Sec. 14.20.160.  LOSS OF TENURE RIGHTS.  Tenure rights are lost when the                                              
15 teacher's employment in the district is interrupted or terminated.  However, a teacher                                 
16 on layoff status does not lose tenure rights during the period of layoff except as                                      
17 provided under AS 14.20.177.                                                                                           
18    * Sec. 4.  AS 14.20.175(b) is amended to read:                                                                       
19  (b)  A teacher who has acquired tenure rights is subject to nonretention for the                                      
20 following school year only for the following causes:                                                                    
21   (1)  incompetency, which is defined as the inability or the unintentional                                            
22 or intentional failure to perform the teacher's customary teaching duties in a                                          
23 satisfactory manner;                                                                                                    
24   (2)  immorality, which is defined as the commission of an act that,                                                  
25 under the laws of the state, constitutes a crime involving moral turpitude; or                                        
26   (3)  substantial noncompliance with the school laws of the state, the                                                
27 regulations or bylaws of the department, the bylaws of the district, or the written rules                               
28 of the superintendent [; OR                                                                                             
29   (4)  A NECESSARY REDUCTION OF STAFF OCCASIONED BY A                                                                  
30 DECREASE IN SCHOOL ATTENDANCE].                                                                                         
31    * Sec. 5.  AS 14.20 is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                      
01  Sec. 14.20.177.  LAYOFFS.  (a)  A school district may place a teacher who has                                         
02 acquired tenure rights on layoff status but only after the district has nonretained all                                 
03 nontenured teachers and only if it is necessary for the district to reduce the number of                                
04 tenured teachers because of a decrease in school attendance or because of a financial                                   
05 emergency verified by the commissioner of education.  The commissioner's                                                
06 determination is not subject to review or appeal.  This section does not apply to a                                     
07 teacher who has not acquired tenure rights.                                                                             
08  (b)  For a period of three years after layoff, a teacher is on layoff status and                                      
09 is entitled to a hiring preference in the district or regional educational attendance area                              
10 where the teacher had been employed.  The hiring preference applies only to vacant                                      
11 teaching positions for which the teacher is qualified.  If a teacher is offered a teaching                              
12 position under this subsection and the teacher declines the offer, the teacher is no                                    
13 longer considered to be on layoff status and is no longer entitled to a hiring preference                               
14 under this section.                                                                                                     
15  (c)  In making layoff and rehire decisions under this section, a school district                                      
16 may give preference to a primary school teacher who has less seniority than a                                           
17 secondary school teacher in order to preserve the primary school program.  The district                                 
18 may also give preference to a secondary school teacher over a primary school teacher                                    
19 with more seniority in order to preserve secondary school programs.                                                     
20  (d)  Notwithstanding any provision of AS 23.40, the terms of a collective                                             
21 bargaining agreement entered into between a school district or regional educational                                     
22 attendance area and a bargaining organization representing teachers on or after the                                     
23 effective date of this section may not be inconsistent with the provisions of this                                      
24 section.                                                                                                                
25  (e)  A teacher on layoff status is not entitled to be reemployed under                                                
26 AS 14.20.145 and does not accrue leave.  However, layoff status does not constitute                                     
27 a break in service for                                                                                                  
28   (1)  retaining acquired tenure rights; or                                                                            
29  (2)  retaining accrued sick leave.                                                                                   
30  (f)  A teacher on layoff status may choose whether or not to treat the layoff as                                      
31 a termination for purposes of receiving a refund of the balance of the teacher's member                                 
01 contribution account in the teachers' retirement system under AS 14.25.150.                                             
02    * Sec. 6.  AS 14.20.180(b) is amended to read:                                                                       
03  (b)  The tenured teacher may, within 15 days immediately following receipt of                                         
04 the notification, notify the employer in writing that a hearing before the school board is                              
05 requested or, within 60 days after receipt of the notification, bring suit in superior                                 
06 court.  If the tenured teacher notifies the school board that the teacher is requesting                                 
07 a hearing before the school board, the [.  THE TENURED] teacher may require in the                                     
08 notification that the hearing be either public or private and that the hearing be under oath                            
09 or affirmation.  The notification may also require that the right of cross-examination be                               
10 provided and that the tenured teacher be represented by counsel and have the right to                                   
11 subpoena a person who has made allegations that are used as a basis for the decision of                                 
12 the employer.                                                                                                           
13    * Sec. 7.  AS 14.20.205 is amended to read:                                                                          
14  Sec. 14.20.205.  JUDICIAL REVIEW.  If a school board reaches a decision                                               
15 unfavorable to a teacher after a hearing under AS 14.20.180, the teacher is entitled to                              
16 judicial review based on the record [A DE NOVO TRIAL] in the superior court.                                           
17 However, a teacher who has not attained tenure rights is not entitled to judicial review                               
18 under [ACCORDING TO] this section.                                                                                     
19    * Sec. 8.  The amendments made by secs. 1 and 2 of this Act apply to teachers first hired by                         
20 a school district on or after the effective date of this Act.