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Reminder: Administrator Nonrenewal Timelines

Boards planning to nonrenew an administrator’s employment contract in the last year of the contract must take steps to comply with the timelines and procedural requirements contained in Section 1229 of the Revised School Code. Failure to follow the statutory nonrenewal process (or provisions in an employment contract) may result in automatic contract renewal for an additional year.

The nonrenewal process for a school administrator (other than a superintendent) is multi-stepped and protracted. To effectuate nonrenewal, a school must follow a strict regimen that requires two board resolutions, no­tices that must be sent to the affected administrator, a written statement identifying the reason(s) why the board is considering nonrenewal, and an opportunity for the affected administrator to meet with not less than a majority of the board to discuss the reason(s) for nonrenewal. Those actions must be completed within the timelines and in the order prescribed by Section 1229.

Strict adherence to Section 1229’s timelines is critical, as a school must give the affected administra­tor notice that the board is “considering” nonrenewal, along with a written statement of the reasons for nonrenewal, at least 90 days before the affected administrator’s contract expires. Some administrator contracts may require more notice than that required by Section 1229. Consequently, it is important that each administrator contract which the board may be considering for nonrenewal be reviewed carefully to establish accurate timelines for the procedures required to effectuate nonrenewal.

Section 1229 also requires a period of at least 30 days from the date the administrator is informed that the board is considering nonrenewal before the board may make a final determination whether to nonrenew the affected administrator. During this period, the affected administrator must be given the opportunity to meet with a majority of the board to discuss the stated reasons for the nonrenewal. Closed session review may occur at the administrator’s request.

The board then must make its final determination and provide the administrator written notice of that decision not later than 60 days before the affected administrator’s contract expires. Under Section 1229, a school may only nonrenew an administrator’s employment contract for a reason that is not “arbitrary or capricious.”

The nonrenewal process for a superintendent is much less complex, requiring only that the superintendent be notified in writing not less than 60 days before the end of the contract term if a school board determines not to renew the superintendent’s contract. Absent timely notice of nonrenewal, the superintendent’s contract will extend by operation of law for an additional year until the notice of nonrenewal is given.

Many variables may affect the timelines and procedures to nonrenew an administrator’s contract; it is critical to start preparing for the process as soon as possible. Depending on the terms of the administrator contract, we recommend starting the process no later than March 15. Further, individual employment contracts for all administrators (superintendent and non-superintendent) should be reviewed for additional terms, such as an “evergreen” clause, that may automatically extend a contract before the last year of the term without affirmative board action.  Your Thrun Law Firm labor attorney can help navigate the nonrenewal pro­cess and provide the resolutions, notices, and other documents needed to complete the process.