6 Tips to Properly Nonrenew a "Probationary" Teacher's Contract

The South Dakota Legislature has enacted a series of strict procedures that a school district must follow to "nonrenew" a "probationary" teacher. Here are 6 tips to make sure this process is done correctly.

1. What is a “probationary” or “non-tenured” teacher?

A “probationary” or “non-tenured” teacher is a teacher who is not in or beyond his fourth consecutive term of employment as a teacher with the school district.

2. May a school district nonrenew a “probationary” teacher?

Yes.  A “probationary” teacher may be nonrenewed by a school district.

3. What procedure should a school board follow in nonrenewing a “probationary” teacher?

If a school board decides in executive session to nonrenew the contract of a “probationary” teacher, the board in open session should make the following motion:

“Motion to not renew the contract of (Name of Teacher).”

After the motion has been seconded and without further discussion, the vote is taken.

4. Who must provide the “probationary” teacher with notice of the nonrenewal?

The superintendent or chief executive officer must give written notice of nonrenewal by April fifteenth.

5. How does the notice of nonrenewal have to be provided to the “probationary” teacher?

Delivery of the notice of nonrenewal must be provided in one of three ways - (1) by certified mail with return receipt signed by the teacher; (2) personal delivery evidenced by a receipt signed by the teacher; or (3) affidavit of personal service made by a person authorized to effect personal service.

6. Is a “probationary” teacher entitled to a due process hearing upon notice of his nonrenewal?

No. After written notice of nonrenewal is provided, the superintendent or chief executive officer is not required to give further process or a reason for nonrenewal to the “probationary” teacher.  

For more information about the proper procedure to nonrenew a "probationary" teacher, read Chapter 24 of The South Dakota School Law Deskbook.