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WCPSS: Board Policy - 3430 Reduction in Force: Certified Employees

3430 REDUCTION IN FORCE: CERTIFIED EMPLOYEES

The purpose of this policy is to establish an orderly procedure for reduction in the employment of licensed, professional employees of the school system who are subject to G.S. 115C-325 by statute or employment contract. This policy also applies to all "school administrators" who are entitled to employment contracts under G.S. 115C-287.1. Reductions in force shall be determined according to the definition and procedures established in G.S. 115C-325 and by this policy.

  1. Definitions
    1. Reduction in Force (RIF) - A justifiable decrease in the number of positions due to district reorganization, decreased enrollment, or decreased funding.
    2. District Reorganization - defined as declining enrollment, financial exigency, or any other cause that warrants closing, consolidation, elimination, curtailment, or reorganization of schools, facilities, programs, or curriculum offerings.
    3. Decreased Enrollment - shall exist when the enrollment or projected enrollment for the next succeeding school year causes a decrease in the teaching or administrative positions allocated by the state or any other funding source; or when the enrollment or projected enrollment for the next succeeding school year of a curriculum offering or program is inadequate to justify continuation of the course or program.
    4. Decreased Funding - shall mean any decline in the Board of Education's financial resources that is brought about by the decline in enrollment or by other actions or events that change the school system's current operational budget; or any decrease or elimination in funding for a particular program; or any insufficiency in funding that would render the Board unable to continue existing programs at current levels.
    5. Employee Groups - for the purpose of implementing a reduction in force under this policy, personnel shall be grouped in system-wide employee groups as follows:
      1. Pre-K - 5 elementary school teachers;
      2. 6-8 middle school teachers grouped separately by certification areas (e.g., middle school social studies teachers);
      3. 9-12 high school teachers grouped separately by certification areas[1] (e.g., high school math teachers);
      4. K-12 teachers grouped separately by special subject certification areas (e.g., physical education teachers);
      5. Vocational education teachers grouped separately by certification areas (e.g., electrical trades teachers);
      6. Special service personnel and school administrators grouped separately by certification or assignment areas (e.g., principals, assistant principals, instructional supervisors/directors, media specialists).

      NOTE: Employees with multiple certifications shall be grouped in their current area of assignment (i.e., assignment for at least 50% of the instructional day). The Superintendent is authorized to limit or narrow the scope of any affected group to those employees who work in the school, facility, program, or department subject to the reduction in positions.

    6. Years of Service - according to official records maintained by the Division of Teacher Certification, State Department of Public Instruction of North Carolina. This term applies only to years in which an employee served as a public school teacher. A year shall be not less than 120 workdays performed as a full-time permanent teacher in a normal school year.
  2. Notification and Procedures
    1. When the Superintendent believes that grounds exist for a reduction in force and a reduction in force is appropriate, the Superintendent shall present a written recommendation to the Board of Education. The recommendation shall include: 1) The grounds for reduction in force; 2) The number or estimated number of the certified positions to be reduced; 3) The background information, data, and rationale for the recommendation.
    2. The Board of Education shall review the Superintendent' recommendation and shall determine whether to authorize a reduction in certified positions.
    3. If the Board authorizes a reduction in force, the Superintendent shall recommend to the Board which employees are to be dismissed or demoted, based on the guidelines established in section C of this policy. Prior to submitting the recommendation to the Board, the Superintendent shall give written notice to the career employees by certified mail or personal delivery of his intention to make the recommendation and the grounds upon which he believes such dismissal or action is justified. This written notice shall also inform the affected employees of their right to request a hearing before the Board, as provided by G.S. 115C-325.
  3. Guidelines for RIF Implementation
    1. The school system will consider the following factors in determining which positions will shall be subject to a reduction in force:
      1. Structural considerations, such as identifying positions, departments, courses, programs, operations, and other areas where there are (i) less essential, duplicative, or excess personnel; (ii) job responsibility and/or position inefficiencies; (iii) opportunities for combined work functions; and/or (iv) decreased student or other demands for curriculum, programs, operations, or other services.
      2. Organizational considerations such as anticipated organizational needs of the school system and program/school enrollment.
    2. If the Board authorizes a reduction in the number of certified positions, the following steps shall be taken to determine which employees are to be dismissed or demoted:
      1. Normal attrition shall be considered prior to any reduction in staff.
      2. Next, certified employees in the affected employee group (see section A.5 of this policy) shall be dismissed or demoted based on the following factors:
        1. Work performance;
        2. Length of service in the Wake County Schools;
        3. Service in extra duty positions and ability to fill such positions;
        4. Other beneficial services provided to the school system;
        5. Recommendations and advice from the Superintendent or designee.

      NOTE: Among these factors, primary consideration will be given to work performance. In assessing an employee's work performance for purposes of this policy, the school system may consider performance evaluations, improvement plans, past disciplinary actions, and other relevant factors as determined by the Superintendent.

    3. When a career teacher is dismissed under this policy, his/her name shall be placed on the list of available teachers to be maintained by the Board. A career teacher who is dismissed under this policy, and who is subsequently rehired, will be eligible for career status after one year.
  4. Limitations
    1. Upon the recommendation of the Superintendent, the Board may exempt employees from the reduction in force requirements if their displacement:
      1. Results in the cancellation of the course(s) because no other staff member is trained to teach the course(s);
      2. Results in a significant impairment in providing services or programs because of insufficiency of training and/or experience of other staff members;
      3. Results in any other special or exceptional circumstances as recommended by the Superintendent and approved by the Board of Education.
    2. The Board, upon recommendation of the Superintendent, may refuse to renew the contract of a probationary employee or to reemploy any employee who is not under contract for any cause it deems sufficient in accordance with G.S. 115C-325(m)(2). In such cases, the procedures set forth in this policy shall not apply.

      NOTE: A WCPSS probationary teacher who is non-renewed or resigns for budget-related reasons, and who is subsequently rehired within three years, may be eligible for credit toward career status for past years of service. However, to be considered for this benefit, the teacher must notify the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources in writing no later than sixty (60) calendar days after the first day of re-employment with the school system.

  5. Appeal Procedure

    Any certified employee who has been dismissed or demoted due to reduction in force shall have the right to appeal as outlined by G.S. 115C-325


1 Foreign language teachers certified to teach 9-12 shall be included in the K-12 foreign language employee groups (e.g., 9-12 Spanish teachers will be included in the K-12 employee group for Spanish teachers).

Legal Reference: G.S. 115C-325

Adopted: June 15, 1981

Revised: July 12, 1984

Revised: March 21, 1994

Revised: August 17, 1998

Revised: May 21, 2002

Revised: August 2, 2011

Revised: October 4, 2011