Examining administrative authority to dismiss tenured teachers in Georgia
Kurtz, Adam Lauck
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Teacher quality is important to student learning. This legal research reviews historical foundations and Georgia State Board of Education appeals decisions to determine the level of administrative authority granted to Georgia school districts by the Georgia Fair Dismissal Act of 1975. This act provides veteran teachers with due process protections commonly known as tenure and districts with eight reasons for dismissal or non-renewal. These areas are: 1) incompetency; 2) insubordination; 3) willful neglect of duties; 4) immorality; 5) inciting, encouraging, or counseling students to violate any valid state law, municipal ordinance, or policy or rule of the local board of education; 6) to reduce staff due to loss of students or cancellation of programs; 7) failure to secure and maintain necessary educational training; or 8) any other good and sufficient cause. Most cases appealed, over 85%, are decided for the Local Board of Education. An analysis of all appeals decisions provides clarity of definition for these eight areas for dismissal. Operational definitions that emerged from State Board of Education appeals decisions provide guidance to Local Boards of Education, school administrators and teachers.