Reduction in Force: Licensed Staff Procedures - Policy P5-18

A decrease enrollment, a budget reduction or adjustment, a consolidation of schools, the phasing out of programs, departments or grade levels and other conditions may cause a reduction in the number of staff needed in a building, program or department, or in the entire school division.

If a reduction of staff is necessary, such reductions shall occur under the guidelines outlined below:

A. Definitions
1. Endorsement: A teaching endorsement shown on a valid, current teaching license issued by the Virginia Board of Education.

2. Licensed Administrator: A principal, assistant principal or supervisor (as defined by 8 VAC 20-440-10) who is: (1) required by the Virginia Board of Education to hold a license; and (2) paid on the administrative/classified pay scale.

3. One-Year Hire: A licensed administrator or teacher, as defined in this section, who: (1) was offered that position on or after August 1 of the current school year; or (2) was hired as a licensed administrator or teacher for the current school year to replace an employee on an extended leave or reassignment, as evidenced by supporting documentation. One-year hires may be full-time or part-time.

4. Seniority – Qualifying Service:

a. Continuous Service: Total years of service in the most recent term of continuous service as a teacher or licensed administrator in the school division.

b. Non-Continuous Service: Total years of service, other than Continuous Service, as a teacher and/or licensed administrator in the school division.

c. Virginia Service: Total years of service, other than Continuous and Non-Continuous Service, as a teacher and/or licensed administrator in any accredited public or private school in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

d. U. S. Service: Total years of service, other than Continuous, Non-Continuous, and Virginia Service, as a teacher and/or licenses administrator in any accredited public or private school in the United States of America or any U. S. Affiliated school outside the United States.

Seniority is described fully in Section C.1.a

e. Teacher: An employee who is: (1) regularly employed and paid as a teacher, school social worker, guidance counselor, school psychologist, or librarian; and (2) holds a valid teaching license from the Virginia Board of Education.

B. Procedure for Reduction
1. Superintendent’s Reduction Strategy

a. The superintendent shall create a division-wide reduction-in-force strategy (“Reduction Strategy”) which seeks to maximize the division’s ability to meet the school board’s vision, mission, and goals within budgetary restraints.

b. The Reduction Strategy will be based on reductions in positions, programs, endorsements, services, courses, and/or other appropriate areas.

c. The Reduction Strategy will provide guidance to each school regarding the nature and scope of the needed reductions.

d. If applicable, guidance for licensed administrator reductions will be included in the Reduction Strategy for development by the superintendent’s designee.

2. Principal’s Reduction Plans

a. Principals shall develop reduction-in-force implementation plans (“Reduction Plans”) for their schools in accordance with the Reduction Strategy and the requirements of Section C of this policy.

b. Each plan must contain:

  1. In rank order, the names and positions of the employees proposed to be reduced and an explanation of how those employees were identified in accordance with the criteria for reduction established in Section C of this policy; and
  2. A reduction criteria form for each employee that has been considered for reduction, even if not proposed for reduction; and
  3. A reduction criteria form for each probationary teacher in the school, whether or not the teacher is proposed for reduction.

c. The superintendent/designee shall review each Reduction Plan for compliance with the Reduction Strategy and this policy. The superintendent/designee may require principals to modify Reduction Plans in order to conform to the Reduction Strategy or this policy.

3. Superintendent’s Division Reduction Plan

a. The superintendent shall develop a written division reduction-in-force plan (“Division Reduction Plan”) that takes into consideration the need for equitable treatment of employees across the division, as well as the needs of each school.

b. The Division Reduction Plan must explain the proposed reductions for each school and any licensed administrator reductions.

c. The Division Reduction Plan may propose to exempt from the reduction up to one percent of the current teacher personnel whose active assignments and/or special skills are essential to the effective operation of the division, subject to the following additional conditions:

  1. The superintendent may propose to exempt more than one percent (1%) of the current teacher personnel upon a showing of extraordinary need.
  2. No teacher may be exempted from reduction for more than two (2) consecutive years.
  3. The school board retains the exclusive right to approve, modify, or disapprove any proposed exemptions, including any proposal to exceed the one percent (1%) cap.

d. The superintendent shall submit the Division Reduction Plan to the school board for its review. The school board retains the right at all times to approve, modify, or disapprove the Division Reduction Plan. Upon approval by the school board, the superintendent shall implement the Division Reduction Plan in accordance with this policy.

e. In accordance with Virginia Code §§22.1-304 and 22.1-305, the superintendent/designee shall notify all employees who will be reduced as soon as possible, but no later than two weeks following the approval of the school board’s budget by the Lynchburg City Council or June 1, whichever is earlier.

4. Conferences with Employees Recommended for Reductio

a. Principals shall meet with any employee to discuss their recommendation to reduce that employee. Such conferences must be held as soon as practicable after the recommendation is developed.

b. The superintendent/designee shall meet with any employee, upon request, to discuss a principal’s recommendation to reduce that employee, provided that a conference between the employee and principal has been held. Superintendent/Designee conferences must be conducted as soon as practicable.

c. Nothing in this section shall be construed to create any right or obligation other than the obligation to hold conferences as explained above.

C. Criteria for Teacher and Licensed Administrator Reduction
In developing Reduction Plans for superintendent review, principals shall determine which teachers will be reduced based on the criteria for Tiers One and Two as described below. The superintendent’s designee shall determine which licensed administrators will be reduced based on the same criteria. Guidelines for applying these criteria are provided in Section C.3 below.

1. Tier One Criteria

a. Seniority: For full-time service, seniority shall be measured as a numerical sum (“Seniority Score”) calculated by first multiplying the number of full-time years of service an employee has for each kind of qualifying service by the number stated in the “multiplier” column below, then adding each product.

Kind of Qualifying Service Multiplier
Continuous Service 4
Non-Continuous Service 3
Virginia Service 2
U. S. Service 1

1.  Seniority Calculation for Full-time Employment: Years of service are calculated as follows:

a.) Each complete school year of service shall be counted as one (1) year. Approved leaves of absence shall not cause a break in continuous service and shall not be counted for purposes of determining years of service.

b.) If the effective date of the employee’s contract falls before December 31 in a given year, one (1) full year of service shall be credited to the employee for purposes of measuring years of service. If the effective date of the employee’s contract is after December 31, one half (1/2) of a year shall be credited to the employee.

c.) All employees will be deemed to have one (1) year of continuous service for the current school year during which the Reduction Plans are developed. Example: for RIF Plans developed in March 2012, all employees would receive one (1) year of Continuous Service for the 2011-12 school year.

d.) One-year hires, as defined by Section A.3., shall not be eligible to earn seniority points for any current or prior years of service, unless they were employed full-time in division teaching or administrative positions in the year before the current school year, with no break in service, in which case they shall earn seniority points for all prior years of full-time service in accordance with Section C.1.a.

2.  Seniority Calculation for Part-time Employment: Current full-time employees shall have any previous years of part-time employment with the school division credited for seniority in the following manner: each year of part-time employment in the school division, whether continuous or non-continuous shall be given one (1) seniority point. Current part-time employees shall not receive seniority points for the current school year, but shall earn seniority points for prior years of full-time service in the school division if: (a) the last year of such full-time service was within three (3) school years of the current school year; and (b) there has been no break in service.

3.  Seniority Calculation Examples:

Example A: A teacher with 3 years of Continuous Service, 10 years of Non-continuous Service, and 1 year of Virginia Service would have a Seniority Score of 44 (12+30+2).

Example B: A one-year hire teacher who did not hold a teaching position in the school division during the previous year would have a Seniority Score of 0 regardless of the employee’s current prior years of service as a teacher.

Example C: A current full-time teacher with 3 years of prior part-time Continuous or Non-continuous Service would have a Seniority Score of 7 (4+3).

Example D: A current part-time teacher who served initially for 3 years as a full-time teacher, then served in a part-time position for the last 2 years, with no break in service, would have a seniority Score of 9 (3 years of Non-continuous Service).

b. Evaluations and Student Performance: The two most recent summative evaluations of the teacher shall be considered, if applicable. Otherwise, the principal shall rank the teacher’s performance against the other teachers in the same classification. The three most recent years of the SOL or other applicable standardized test scores of the teacher’s students shall be considered. In considering test scores, the academic strength of the teacher’s assigned classes will be weighted such that a teacher who has advanced classes is not favored as compared to a teacher with more academically challenged classes simply because of the disparity in student ability. Student progress from early in the academic year to late in the academic year shall be considered.

c. Endorsements: Endorsements, as defined in Section A.1. will be evaluated in light of their necessity and value to the school. Relevant factors include, but are not limited to:

  1. Experience teaching in the endorsement area;
  2. Endorsement in areas that are difficult to staff; and
  3. Multiple endorsements that are necessary and valuable to the school.

d. Plan of Assistance: A current, active plan of assistance shall be given significant weight in favor of reduction. However, the following factors shall be considered in each case and may, based on the facts, be sufficient to overcome a recommendation for reduction:

  1. The employee’s work history before being placed on the current plan including placement on any prior plans;
  2. The nature and severity of the performance concerns identified in the plan; and
  3. The degree to which the employee has succeeded in meeting the goals of the plan.

2. Tier Two Criteria

a. Special Skills and Training: “Special skills and training” are educationally valuable, objectively measurable accomplishments beyond the normal skills and training required for employee performance. In most cases, these should already be documented in the employee’s personnel file. All special skills and training will be evaluated in light of their necessity and value to the school. Representative examples include, but are not limited to:

  1. Secondary language proficiency relevant to a school’s student population and/or the school division’s curriculum;
  2. Technological training or skills;
  3. Mediation training;
  4. Mandt training; and
  5. Other experience/training working with specific student groups (e.g., at-risk students, advanced placement, etc.).

b. Educational Certifications and Honors: “Educational certifications and honors” are those certifications, honors, and awards issued by national or state educational organizations for specific achievements. These will be evaluated in light of their necessity and value to the school. Representative examples include, but are not limited to:

  1. National Board Certification;
  2. Recognition as State/National Teacher of the Year;
  3. National Teacher Training Institute Certification;
  4. Virginia NETS*T Certification:
  5. National Association of Science Teachers Fellowship; and
  6. Satisfaction of state requirement to teach dual-enrollment courses.

c. Contributions to Curricular and Extracurricular Programs: “Contributions to curricular and extracurricular programs” are educationally valuable, objectively measurable services given by an employee beyond those minimally required for the job, even though they may be performed during contract hours, such as serving in student organizations and athletics and engaging in leadership activities in the school or school parent/community organizations. These will be evaluated in light of their necessity and value to the school.

d. Enrollment History in Elective Courses: Enrollment history for the past three school years will be evaluated if a reduction is being considered in elective courses or in positions which are primarily responsible for elective instruction.

3. Guidelines for Applying Reduction Criteria

a. Forms: Principals shall use standardized forms developed by the superintendent/designee for use in applying the reduction criteria. A form for each employee that has been considered for reduction, even if not proposed for reduction, shall be attached to the Reduction Plan.

b. Order of Reductions: Principals shall reduce one-year hires and part-time employees prior to reducing any full-time teacher, when there is a full-time teacher within the school who could fill the one-year hire’s or part-time teacher’s assignments.

c. Tier One Weight: Tier One criteria shall generally be given greater weight than Tier Two criteria. In order to propose the reduction of an employee with strong Tier One criteria over an employee with weaker Tier One criteria, principals must articulate convincing, fact-based reasons for the decision in their Reduction Plans.

d. Ties: Should the tier-based assessment of two or more employees yield identical or substantially identical results, principals shall reduce the employee with the lower Seniority Score.

D. Recall
1. Through these recall procedures, the school division seeks to give reduced full-time employees priority over reduced one-year hires, reduced part-time employees and external employment candidates when filling vacant positions and to accommodate the unique needs of the schools and the individualized needs of reduced employees. Teachers and licensed administrators who have been reduced pursuant to this policy shall be placed on a school-specific recall list for teachers for a period of one (1) school year following the employee’s separation (end of contract period).

2. Reduced Employees will complete a Preference Form, to be provided by the Department of Personnel, identifying all schools where they wish to work, subjects/grades they seek to teach and for which they are endorsed and/or qualified, and whether they are seeking full or part-time employment. This information will be shared with all principals in the form of school-specific recall lists prior to hiring for the following school year. Failure to complete the Preference Form by the assigned deadline, declining an offer for an interview, or declining an offer of employment will result in being removed from the recall list. Employees removed from the recall list may apply as external candidates if they desire further employment.

3. As vacancies occur within a school, principals will use the information from the Preference Forms to identify reduced employees to be screened. Full-time (excluding one-year hires) employees reduced by a school who hold the appropriate endorsement, must be the first teachers recalled to that school when a vacancy occurs. Approval not to recall such a teacher must be gained from the superintendent/designee prior to screening other teachers. Only reduced full-time (excluding one-year hires) employees who expressed an interest in the individual school, and assignment area and hold the appropriate endorsement will be guaranteed a screening. Selection of reduced employees from the recall list shall be based on the Tier One and Tier Two reduction criteria described in Section C in light of the school board’s vision, mission, and goals.

4. Principals will not be obligated to screen reduced part-time employees and one-year hire employees; however, a principal may choose to screen those who appear to meet the needs of the school. All reduced part-time and one-year hires will be considered as external applicants and will receive consideration by principals as decisions are being made for screenings and interviews.

5. When a school has a vacancy for which there is a qualified reduced full-time employee (excluding one-year hires) on its recall list, no external candidate may be offered the position without the prior approval of the superintendent/designee.

6. Employees who are recalled to new positions shall be credited with all years of school division service as a teacher and licensed administrator.

Legal Reference:

Code of Virginia §§22.1-304, 22.2-305

Adopted by School Board: January 16, 1979
Revised by School Board: January 6, 1981
Revised by School Board: March 20, 2001
Revised by School Board: March 23, 2010
Revised by School Board: March 20, 2012

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