Judge Robert H. Hobgood issued a written order in Wake County Superior Court today declaring the 2013 General Assembly’s actions unconstitutional in eliminating due process rights, or career status, for teachers who already had obtained it.
Hobgood made the ruling three weeks ago and issued his written order today. The trial court also permanently halted the 25 percent contract provision statewide as it was “inextricably tied” to the revocation of due process rights.
The 25 percent contracts, also passed into law last year, would have required teachers to give up their due process rights four years early in exchange for small pay bumps of $500 for each of those four years. More than 51 school districts had passed resolutions in opposition to the contracts.
“This is an important victory, not only for teachers, but for public education,” said Rodney Ellis, president of NCAE. “Local boards and superintendents have been standing right along with us in saying that protecting due process rights for teachers is a good thing – that we want our teachers to be strong advocates for students and to not have to fear politics will rob them of their job.”
Reacting to the Senate’s 2014 budget proposal to offer teachers an 11 percent raise if they voluntarily relinquish tenure, Ellis said, “The Senate budget provision was clearly in response to our lawsuit and is plainly wrong. Our victory reaffirms the important role of the judiciary in interpreting the constitution and determining when the General Assembly has overstepped its bounds by passing laws that are unconstitutional.”
State Senator Phil Berger has promised to appeal Hobgood’s ruling.