KBS Reference Desk: Medical Contract Abandonment

Q: Our district’s Spanish teacher is on dialysis. Her request for intermittent Family Medical Leave has been approved and a schedule set to ensure that she can attend to her students and her health. On the third day of school, the teacher submitted her resignation stating she has been offered a job at a school district that will pay her more money and that is located closer to the facility that she receives her medical treatment. We are a rural school district and it is difficult to recruit qualified Spanish teachers. Is the District obligated to release the teacher from her contract? What if she stops coming to work?

A: No, the District is not obligated to release the teacher from her contract because the teacher resigned after the penalty free resignation date, which is 45 days before the first day of instruction, and therefore, acceptance and release from the contract is discretionary. If the school district does not accept the teacher’s resignation, SBEC has the authority to issue sanctions at the board of trustees’ request in accordance with Board Policy DFE (Legal).

Before SBEC will consider sanctions, it requires a board of trustees to issue findings under a properly-posted agenda that good cause did not exist for the employee to resign outside the penalty free resignation period. In determining good cause for abandonment, the board of trustees has wide discretion; however, the board’s action is not the final determination—the educator will be given the opportunity to present evidence to SBEC to overcome the board’s findings. While SBEC makes contract abandonment findings on a case-by-case basis, it consistently finds that getting a better job offer is not considered good cause. SBEC has not issued an opinion whether or not convenience of medical treatment warrants good cause.

In addition to finding no good cause, SBEC also requires the request for sanctions be addressed from the board, and submitted within 30 days of the first day the teacher ceased reporting to work. The correspondence must include 1) the employee’s resignation letter, 2) a copy of the employee’s contract, 3) any agreement concerning the effective date of separation of employment, if any, and 4) the board meeting minutes reflecting the board’s findings concerning good cause.

If the board does not have a meeting scheduled before the expiration of the 30 days, the Superintendent should send notice to SBEC of intent to seek sanctions and then supplement the notice with the board meeting minutes within 10 days of the date the board made its findings.

Related Posts

Recent Articles

KBS Reference Desk: On Call Employees over 4th of July Holiday
July 1, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Employment of Students
June 24, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: TOMA Social Gatherings Conventions
June 17, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Volunteers Under Guardian Plan
June 10, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: DOI and Certification
June 3, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: FML Leave Over the Summer
May 27, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Decrease in Compensation
May 20, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Participation in Graduation Ceremonies
May 13, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Temporary Custodians of Record – TPIA
May 6, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Driving Students to Polls
April 29, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Authority to Create New Position
April 22, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Booster Club Raffle
April 15, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Returning a Teacher to Probationary Status
April 8, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Termination of Probationary Contract While On Leave
April 1, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Long COVID and Special Education Referrals
March 25, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Pay During Weather Closure
March 18, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Nepotism
March 11, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: New SBOE Rules on Contract Abandonment
March 4, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Web Accessibility
February 25, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Political Advocacy Prohibitions
February 18, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Pay During Weather Closure
February 11, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: House Bill 2581 Procurement Updates
February 4, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: CDL Waivers for Bus Drivers
January 28, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Interstate Travel Liability and Travel Forms Best Practices
January 21, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Updated Stay at Home Periods
January 14, 2022