House Bill No. 198
Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________
A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act Revising laws related to Nontenured Teachers; providing a nontenured teacher with the right to a statement of true reasons for termination and an opportunity to rebut the statement of reasons supplied by the district; requiring the district to include the nontenured teacher's rebuttal statement with any written information relating to the nontenured teacher's performance as a teacher in the district that is supplied by the district to a third party; providing that the nonrenewal of a nontenured teacher is not a controversy subject to review by the county superintendent or the superintendent of public instruction; amending sections 20-3-210 and 20-4-206, MCA; and providing an immediate effective date and an applicability date."
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Section 20-3-210, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-3-210. Controversy appeals and hearings. (1) Except as provided under 20-3-211, the county superintendent shall hear and decide all matters of controversy arising in the county as a result of decisions of the trustees of a district in the county. Except as provided in subsection (2), exhaustion of administrative remedies under this chapter is required prior to filing an action in district court concerning a decision of the trustees. When appeals are made under 20-4-204 relating to the termination of services of a tenure teacher or under 20-4-207 relating to the dismissal of a teacher under contract, the county superintendent may appoint a qualified attorney at law to act as a legal adviser who shall assist the superintendent in preparing findings of fact and conclusions of law. Subsequently, either the teacher or trustees may appeal to the superintendent of public instruction under the provisions for appeal of controversies in this title. The county superintendent shall hear and decide all controversies arising under:
(a) 20-5-320 and 20-5-321 relating to the approval of out-of-district attendance agreements; or
20-4-206(4); or (c) any other provision of this title, for which a procedure for resolving controversies is not expressly prescribed.
(2) Exhaustion of administrative remedies is not a prerequisite to filing an action in district court concerning a decision of the trustees of a district in the following instances:
(a) a state agency has been granted primary jurisdiction over the matter;
(b) the matter is governed by a specific statute; or
(c) the board of trustees has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of its jurisdiction.
(3) The county superintendent shall hear the appeal and take testimony in order to determine the facts related to the controversy and may administer oaths to the witnesses that testify at the hearing. The county superintendent shall prepare a written transcript of the hearing proceedings. The decision on the matter of controversy that is made by the county superintendent must be based upon the facts established at the hearing.
(4) The decision of the county superintendent may be appealed to the superintendent of public instruction, and if it is appealed, the county superintendent shall supply a transcript of the hearing and any other documents entered as testimony at the hearing to the superintendent of public instruction.
(5) Cost incurred by the office of the county superintendent must be paid from the general fund budget of the county in which the controversy is initiated."
Section 2. Section 20-4-206, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-4-206. Notification of
nontenure nontenured teacher reelection -- acceptance -- termination and statement of
reason -- rebuttal. (1) The trustees shall provide written notice by May 1 to all each nontenure teachers who have
nontenured teacher employed by the district regarding whether the nontenured teacher has been reelected for the ensuing
school fiscal year. A nontenure nontenured teacher who does not receive written notice of reelection or termination is
automatically reelected for the ensuing school fiscal year.
nontenure nontenured teacher who receives notification of his reelection for the ensuing school fiscal year shall
provide the trustees with his written acceptance of the conditions of reelection within 20 days after the receipt of the notice
of reelection. Failure to so notify the trustees within 20 days may be considered is conclusive evidence of the nontenured
teacher's nonacceptance of the tendered position.
(3) The trustees may terminate the employment of a nontenured teacher at the conclusion of the school fiscal year with or
without cause. When the trustees notify a
nontenure nontenured teacher of termination, the teacher may within 10 days
after receipt of the notice make written request of the trustees for a statement in writing of the reasons for termination of
employment. Within 10 days after receipt of the request, the trustees shall furnish to the teacher a true statement of reasons
(4) If a
nontenure nontenured teacher believes the reasons provided by the trustees are not true, the teacher may request in
writing within 10 days of receipt of the statement of reasons that the county superintendent hold a hearing in accordance
with 20-3-210 to determine whether the reasons are true. A hearing must be scheduled within 10 days and held within 45
days after receipt of the request, except that the period may be extended upon agreement between the trustees and the
teacher. The burden of proof that the reasons are not true rests with the teacher, and the showing must be demonstrated by
clear and convincing evidence. (5) If, after a hearing, the county superintendent determines that the reasons are not true, the county superintendent shall
order the trustees to offer the teacher a contract for the ensuing school fiscal year. (6) The provisions of this section do not apply to cases in which a nontenure teacher is terminated when the financial
condition of the school district requires a reduction in the number of teachers employed and the reason for the termination
is to reduce the number of teachers employed, within 30 days after receipt of the trustees' termination statement, submit a
written statement rebutting the reasons provided by the trustees. If the nontenured teacher submits a rebuttal statement
within 30 days, the trustees shall include the statement with any written information relating to the nontenured teacher's
performance as a teacher in the district that is supplied by the district to a third party."
NEW SECTION. Section 3. Effective date -- applicability. [This act] is effective on passage and approval and applies to contracts entered into on or after the [effective date of this act].