Q: I just received notification that TASB revised their contract forms. Are the edits significant enough that we need to change our contract forms for next year?
A: Yes! The revised model contracts incorporate important changes to the law, as well as clarify key contract provisions to more closely track the Education Code.
TASB offers model contracts for probationary and term teachers to all member districts who subscribe to HR Services in addition to their general TASB membership. HR Services contains multiple benefits, including the HR Library, which houses model probationary and term contracts.TASB’s 2017 updates to the model contracts are summarized below.
· Certification/Highly Qualified Status: The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) removed the requirement that teachers meet the “highly qualified” standard under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Now, teachers are only required to meet the certification requirements of their state. The revised contract’s language now tracks the requirements of ESSA and removes references to NCLB.
· Criminal History Review: Contract provisions concerning criminal history checks were revised to reflect the mandatory requirement for certified employees to submit to the criminal history background check.
· Representations During the Contract: This provision has been revised to specify that the timeline for employee notification of reportable criminal history should be the time period adopted in Board Policy or seven calendar days if no timeline is specified in local policy.
· Incentive and Performance Pay: The Texas Legislature did not fund the program for state incentive pay and thus reference to this section of the Education Code was removed.
· Termination: The revised termination provision more closely tracks the Education Code’s language at section 21.211(a).
Issuing an employee a contract with incorrect or obsolete provisions could bind the District and/or the employee to outdated legal obligations and could cause undue confusion on both sides. As such, it is critical to update your contract forms as recommended.
Also included within the HR Library are multiple contract addendums. When issuing contracts to new hires, be sure to review the model certification addenda and use it anytime you employ a teacher who is not yet certified. Often, teachers are hired before they have officially completed their certification requirements or taken their final test. This can be problematic if they fail to finalize their certification while employed under contract. The certification addendum allows you to set a specific date for the employee’s certification to be completed and puts the non-certified employee on notice that their contract can be declared void if they do not complete the requirements by the date specified. Check “yes” in the contract document itself where it asks if the contract includes an addenda, then complete and attach the addendum to the contract document itself for execution by the employee.
If your District subscribes to the HR Library, you can find a copy of the new model contracts and addenda at www.tasb.org/Services/HR-Services/myTASB.aspx.