35 teacher contracts not renewed

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 17, 2010

NATCHEZ — At least 35 Natchez-Adams School District teachers received word this week that their contracts had not been renewed, but that doesn’t mean those 35 teachers won’t have a job next year.

Public school districts are required by law to notify teachers before April 15 about the status of their contracts. All public school teachers in the state are hired by an annual contract that expires each year.

A non-renewal notice can mean one of several things, Superintendent Anthony Morris said.

Teachers who haven’t renewed their certification cannot be renewed. However, the teachers have several more months to take care of the necessary paperwork. If they receive the proper certification, they can be re-hired.

Eleven local teachers were not renewed due to certification issues, according to numbers provided by the human resources department.

A few of those have already turned in certification renewal paperwork and received contract renewals, Morris said.

Non-renewals can also come due to a lack of funding designated to federal programs.

Twenty-four of the district’s non-renewals were due to a lack of federal funding, according to human resources department numbers.

But Morris received word late Friday that funding would be available to keep those positions.

Often, Morris said, confirmation of that federal funding doesn’t come in prior to the April 15 deadline to issue contract renewals.

Non-renewal notices can also be the result of poor job performance, Morris said.

Though the human resources department did not provide numbers of performance related non-renewals, Morris said there were some, but less than six.

The school board at the last monthly meeting approved all non-renewals.

“Our numbers were better this year than they have been in years before,” Morris said. “One year we had as many as 52.”

The school district will continue contract renewals into the summer and a final teacher count won’t be known until fall.

According to state law established in 2001, any employee who receives a non-renewal notice must, within 10 days, request, in writing, the specific reasons for the non-renewal. The employee can ask for a hearing before the school board.