April 08, 2014 APPR Decision of the Nassau County Supreme Court
KEEPING YOU INFORMED…
A recent decision of the Nassau County Supreme Court serves as an important reminder that school districts and BOCES must take into account the Annual Professional Performance Reviews (“APPR”) of their teachers and principals when making employment decisions. In Evans v. Board of Education of the Hempstead Union Free School District, Index No. 9274-2013 (Sup Ct, Nassau County, March 12, 2014), the Court reinstated, with full back pay and benefits, three probationary principals because the district had failed to conduct the required APPRs prior to their termination. This failure violated the statutory requirement that an APPR “be a significant factor for employment decisions,” including the termination of a probationary appointment for reasons other than misconduct.
The Court rejected the district’s argument that it was impossible for it to conduct the APPRs for the principals because the State Education Department (“SED”) had not yet provided the district with the data concerning student growth on State assessments that was needed to complete the APPRs prior the end of the principals’ probationary appointments. The Court held that the district could have anticipated and accounted for any SED delays when it negotiated its APPR Plan.
This decision demonstrates the importance of completing any required APPRs before making any employment decisions. In light of this decision, school districts and BOCES should be proactive in addressing potential issues that could prevent the timely completion of APPRs. Please contact us if you would like us to review your APPR Plan and/or assist you with addressing any potential issues before they arise.
THIS MEMORANDUM IS MEANT TO ASSIST IN GENERAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE CURRENT LAW. IT IS NOT TO BE REGARDED AS LEGAL ADVICE. THOSE WITH PARTICULAR QUESTIONS SHOULD SEEK THE ADVICE OF COUNSEL.
© Lamb & Barnosky, LLP 2014