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February 23, 2024 Clouds | 38°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 41: Tenure of teachers and superintendents; persons entitled to professional teacher status; dismissal; review

Section 41. For the purposes of this section, a teacher, school librarian, school adjustment counselor, school nurse, school social worker or school psychologist who has served in the public schools of a school district for the three previous consecutive school years shall be considered a teacher, and shall be entitled to professional teacher status as provided in section forty-two. The superintendent of said district, upon the recommendation of the principal, may award such status to any teacher who has served in the principal's school for not less than one year or to a teacher who has obtained such status in any other public school district in the commonwealth. A teacher without professional teacher status shall be notified in writing on or before June fifteenth whenever such person is not to be employed for the following school year. Unless such notice is given as herein provided, a teacher without such status shall be deemed to be appointed for the following school year.

School principals, by whatever title their position may be known, shall not be represented in collective bargaining, but each principal, upon the written request of the principal, shall meet and discuss the terms and conditions of the principal's employment in the principal's school district with the district's superintendent or the superintendent's designee, at a time to be determined by the superintendent and may be represented by an attorney or other representative. School principals shall enter into individual employment contracts with their employing districts concerning the terms and conditions of employment. The initial contract with each individual school district shall be for not less than 1 year nor more than 3 years. The second and subsequent contracts shall be for not less than 3 nor more than 5 years unless: (i) said contract is a 1 year contract based on the failure of the superintendent to notify the principal of the proposed nonrenewal of his contract pursuant to this section; or (ii) both parties agree to a shorter term of employment. Notwithstanding the past employment conditions of a school principal, the conditions established by this paragraph shall apply to the initial contract of each school principal. Failure of the superintendent to notify a principal of the proposed nonrenewal of his contract at least sixty days prior to the expiration date of such contract shall automatically renew the contract for an additional one year period.

Except as provided herein, section forty-two shall not apply to school principals, assistant principals or department heads, although nothing in this section shall deny to any principal, assistant principal or department head any professional teacher status to which he shall otherwise be entitled. A principal, assistant principal, department head or other supervisor who has served in that position in the public schools of the district for three consecutive years shall not be dismissed or demoted except for good cause. Only a superintendent may dismiss a principal. A principal, assistant principal, department head or other supervisor shall not be dismissed unless he has been furnished with a written notice of intent to dismiss with an explanation of the grounds for the dismissal, and, if he so requests, has been given a reasonable opportunity within fifteen days after receiving such notice to review the decision with the superintendent at which meeting such employee may be represented by an attorney or other representative to present information pertaining to the bases for the decision and to such employee's status. A principal, assistant principal, department head or other supervisor may seek review of a dismissal or demotion decision by filing a petition with the commissioner for arbitration. Except as provided herein, the procedures for arbitration, and the time allowed for the arbitrator to issue a decision, shall be the same as that in section forty-two. The commissioner shall provide the parties with the names of three arbitrators who are members of the American Arbitration Association. The arbitrators shall be different from those developed pursuant to section forty-two. The parties each shall have the right to strike one of the three arbitrator's names if they are unable to agree upon a single arbitrator from amongst the three.

A school committee may award a contract to a superintendent of schools or a school business administrator for periods not exceeding six years which may provide for the salary, fringe benefits, and other conditions of employment, including but not limited to, severance pay, relocation expenses, reimbursement for expenses incurred in the performance of duties or office, liability insurance, and leave for said superintendent or school business administrator. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a school committee from voting to employ a superintendent of schools who has completed three or more years' service to serve at its discretion.