UPDATED: Guilford County School Board rejects law abolishing teacher tenure, will sue the state

*See below for additional documents related to this story.

Greensboro’s News & Record reports that members of the Guilford County School Board voted unanimously last night to reject the state’s new law that would abolish teacher tenure and require school districts to offer teachers temporary contracts, calling into question its constitutionality and asking for relief from the law.

Guilford County also plans to file a complaint challenging the law in Guilford County Superior Court, according to Nora Carr, the district’s chief of staff.

Teachers packed the board room last night, wearing “red for ed” and holding signs to protest the law.

Last summer, lawmakers did away with teacher tenure, formally known as “career status,” which is essentially due process rights for teachers who are dismissed or demoted. North Carolina has awarded teachers tenure for roughly 50 years.

In its place, the state asks local school districts to award the top 25% of its teachers 4-year temporary contracts that are worth $500 pay bumps each year of the contract — as long as those teachers relinquish their tenure. By 2018, tenure will be abolished for all.

Teachers across the state have expressed unhappiness with the new law. The North Carolina Association of Educators is coordinating a campaign called “Decline to Sign,” encouraging teachers who have tenure to reject the temporary contracts and hold on to their tenure through 2018.

In a letter sent to GCS Superintendent Maurice Green, Senate leader Phil Berger said he was “deeply troubled” by Guilford’s move to defy the new law that he pushed toward passage last summer.

Berger also said that board members are “grasping at straws for a legal argument to support their preference for the status quo on teacher pay.”

“Attempts to manufacture legal arguments to derail policy directives may be even more underhanded than openly refusing to follow the law,” said Berger, according to the News & Record.

*UPDATE: Click here to read Guilford County School Board’s resolution to reject the new teacher contract law. And click here to read Senator Phil Berger’s letter to GCS Superintendent Maurice Green.

Gerry Cohen, Special Counsel to the NC General Assembly, explains in this letter to Senator Berger the ramifications of a school board’s decision to reject the teacher contract system. Essentially, members of that school board can be removed from office as punishment for failing to comply with the law.

Check out this video of teachers protesting the law at the Guilford County school board meeting.

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5 Comments

  1. brian

    February 12, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Way to go, Guilford County School Board. Hopefully, your stance spreads through the NC Education field like a brush fire! Might be time to take away the “career status” of some of our politicians and only pay the top 25% of our representatives and senators, cut their staff members, sign them up for Obama care and eliminate any retirement benefits for them. Might be time for some of them to update their resumes. And, Sen. Berger, ask Gov. McCrory that the only congressmen to get raises should be the first year ones. Everyone else gets paycuts. Good luck! Also, as a follow up, if they make the school board member resign and no one else signs on, then what, Senator??

  2. Alan

    February 12, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    What does Berger expect, everyone to simply to roll over and not put up a fight? Kudos to Guilford County School Board and their teachers. Appears the state GOP are the only ones who think public education is moving in the right direction. However, the disingenuous rhetoric about supporting public education and honoring our teachers is quite simply transparent BS, they know it, and we know it.

    I have no doubt Berger will make efforts to remove the school board members, and ensure the GOP cronies get to “run” an education system. Yeah, much like Wake County Public School System with Margiotta and Tedesco who turned WCPSS into a political circus that drew national and international attention to the state, and certainly not in a good way.

    All of this is down to one simple thing, the importance of voting, in EVERY election. Complacency results in these radical nuts getting elected. VOTE THEM OUT.

  3. Denise

    February 12, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Wouldn’t it be nice if this was just the thing we all need to stand up for ourselves finally and say we’re worth more…

  4. LayintheSmakDown

    February 13, 2014 at 10:50 am

    They need to just go their own way. If GC wants to implement their own version of a tenure they should go ahead and do so. I am not sure there is anything to stop them from making all their teachers local system teachers and heading out on their own way.

  5. LayintheSmakDown

    February 16, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Where the heck is the Alan/ML troll comment? I am disappointed to say the least.