Q: The Board proposed nonrenewal of a teacher for excessive absence last night. She has not reported to work since the beginning of January and is not at work today. How should the District provide the employee notice of proposed nonrenewal?
A: Notice should be provided by prepaid certified mail or delivered by express delivery service to the teacher’s address of record with the District, but only after the District confirms that it attempted hand delivery at the teacher’s campus and the teacher was not present.
Texas Education Code section 21.206 outlines the procedure to provide an educator notice of proposed nonrenewal and states “[t]he notice must be delivered personally by hand delivery to the teacher on the campus at which the teacher is employed, except that if the teacher is not present on the campus on the date that hand delivery is attempted, the notice must be mailed by prepaid certified mail or delivered by express delivery service to the teacher's address of record with the district.”
In the present situation, because the teacher is not reporting to work, the campus principal should certify that hand delivery was attempted, and the employee was absent. We recommend the certification include the employee name, contract action, date delivery was attempted, and if delivery was successful or not. When hand delivery is not successful, the notice must then be mailed prepaid certified mail or delivered by express delivery service. In an abundance of caution, we also recommend emailing the notice with a read receipt to both the employee’s work and personal email on file in the event the employee does not pick up his or her certified mail.
Also note, the 15-day timeline for the educator to request a hearing on the proposed nonrenewal starts on the date “the teacher receives hand delivery of the notice of the proposed action, or if the notice is mailed by prepaid certified mail or delivered by express delivery service . . . the date the notice is delivered to the teacher's address of record with the district.” TEC 21.207. As such, accurate recording of the date of actual notice/delivery is essential to tracking the deadline for the employee to request a hearing.