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AGLO 1974 No. 31 - March 15, 1974
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Slade Gorton | 1969-1980 | Attorney General of Washington

DISTRICTS ‑- SCHOOLS ‑- EMPLOYEES ‑- CONTRACTS

Where a school district has entered into a supplemental contract with a certificated employee to serve as high school principal and athletic coach, as provided for in RCW 28A.67.074, the district may not terminate that individual's employment as principal and coach during the term of such contract without compliance with RCW 28A.58.450; it may, however, elect not to renew the contract without compliance with RCW 28A.67.070.

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                                                                  March 15, 1974

Honorable Arthur R. Eggers
Prosecuting Attorney
Walla Walla County
407 Drumheller Building
Walla Walla, Washington 99362                                                                                                               Cite as:  AGLO 1974 No. 31

Dear Sir:

            By recent letter you have requested our opinion on a question which we paraphrase as follows:

            Where a school district has entered into a supplemental contract with a certificated employee to serve as high school principal and athletic coach, as provided for in RCW 28A.67.074:

            (a) May the district terminate this individual's employment as principal and coach during the term of such contract without compliance with RCW 28A.58.450?

            (b) May the district elect not to renew the contract as principal and coach without compliance with RCW 28A.67.070?

            We answer part (a) of your question in the negative and part (b) in the affirmative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            RCW 28A.67.070 codifies certain long-standing statutory provisions relating to the employment of certificated teachers by public school districts in this state.  Insofar as is here material, this statute provides as follows:

            "No teacher, principal, supervisor, superintendent, or other certificated employee, holding a position as such with a school district, hereinafter referred to as 'employee', shall be employed except by written order of a majority of the directors of the district at a regular or special meeting thereof, nor unless he is the holder of an effective teacher's  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] certificate or other certificate required by law or the state board of education for the position for which the employee is employed.

            "Every board of directors determining that there is probable cause or causes that the employment contract of an employee should not be renewed by the district for the next ensuing term shall notify that employee in writing on or before April 15th preceding the commencement of such term of that determination of the board of directors, which notification shall specify the cause or causes for nonrenewal of contract. . . .  If any such notification or opportunity for hearing is not timely given by the district, the employee entitled thereto shall be conclusively presumed to have been reemployed by the district for the next ensuing term upon contractual terms identical with those which would have prevailed if his employment had actually been renewed by the board of directors for such ensuing term."

            As indicated in our earlier opinion of November 16, 1970, to State Senator Robert C. Ridder [[an Informal Opinion AIR-70646]], however, this statute is to be read inparimateria with RCW 28A.67.074, codifying § 2, chapter 283, Laws of 1969, Ex. Sess., which provides that:

            "No certificated employeeshall be required to perform duties not described in the contract unless a new or supplemental contract is made, except that in an unexpected emergency the board of directors or school district administration may require the employee to perform other reasonable duties on a temporary basis.

            "No supplemental contract shall be subject to the continuing contract provisions of Titles 28A or 28B."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            We are enclosing a copy of the foregoing 1970 opinion for your immediate reference, and in accordance with its reasoning we may readily answer part (b) of your question in the affirmative.  The use of a supplemental contract to cover services in addition to those included in a teacher's  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] basic employment contract with his or her school district is permissible under the first paragraph of RCW 28A.67.074,supra, and, in our judgment, it is equally clear under the second paragraph of this statute that a district entering into such a supplemental contract may elect not to renew it for the ensuing school year without compliance with RCW 28A.67.070, supra.

            On the other hand, we do not read the reference to "continuing contract provisions" in that second paragraph as including, in addition to RCW 28A.67.070,supra, the so-called "discharge" statute, RCW 28A.58.450, which provides that:

            "Every board of directors determining that there is probable cause or causes for a teacher, principal, supervisor, superintendent, or other certificated employee, holding a position as such with the school district, hereinafter referred to as 'employee', to be discharged or otherwise adversely affected in his contract status, shall notify such employee in writing of its decision, which notification shall specify the probable cause or causes for such action.  Such notices shall be served upon that employee personally, or by certified or registered mail, or by leaving a copy of the notice at the house of his or her usual abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then resident therein.  Every such employee so notified, at his or her request made in writing and filed with the chairman of the board or secretary of the board of directors of the district within ten days after receiving such notice, shall be granted opportunity for hearing before the board of directors of the district, to determine whether or not there is sufficient cause or causes for his or her discharge or other adverse action against his contract status.  In the request for hearing, the employee may request either an open or closed hearing. . . ."

            Unlike RCW 28A.67.070,supra, this statute does not serve to "continue" a teacher's employment contract from one year to another.  Instead, RCW 28A.58.450 comes into play during the term of a contract whenever the board of  [[Orig. Op. Page 4]] directors of the employing school district determines that there is "probable cause" for a certificated employee to be discharged ". . . or otherwise adversely affected in his contract status . . ."  And, most notably, no distinction is made within this statute between the employee's basic teaching contract and any supplemental contract or contracts that he may have entered into with the district by which he is employed.

            Therefore, even though a school district may elect not to renew a supplemental contract without compliance with RCW 28A.67.070, supra, we do not believe that the district may terminate a teacher's contractual rights and status under such a contract during its term without compliance with RCW 28A.58.450, supra.

            We trust the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

SLADE GORTON
Attorney General

PHILIP H. AUSTIN
Deputy Attorney General

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