Provisionally Credentialed Teachers’ Due-Process Rights Affirmed
June 13, 2007 by Beeson Tayer & Bodine
Two recent Court of Appeal cases, one of which was filed by the Beeson firm, have clarified that teachers with provisional teaching credentials are entitled to due process and the right to preferential re-hire when they are subject to layoffs.
For many years, school districts took the position that teachers who held emergency certification, internships, or pre-intern certification (provisional credentials) were only "temporary" employees and therefore could be terminated without a hearing or any right to reemployment. In contrast, teachers with preliminary and clear credentials (regular credentials) are entitled to participate in a layoff hearing to determine whether the school district’s decision to reduce services was necessary and whether the teachers were chosen for layoff in inverse order of seniority as required by the Education Code. Teachers who are part of a layoff proceeding also have the benefit of preferential re-hire rights.
The two cases, Bakersfield Elementary Teachers Association v Bakersfield City School District and California Teachers Association v Vallejo Unified School District (brought by the Beeson firm), now establish that teachers cannot be denied layoff rights just because they hold less than a regular credential.
Many times the difference between those who quickly obtain a permanent credential right after college and those who must enroll in classes over a number of years to obtain their credential is simply a matter of socio-economic class. That is, many working and poor people can’t afford to take a year off to enroll in a fulltime credentialing program. Instead, to make ends meet, they must teach under a provisional credential until they complete the credentialing requirements.
With these two cases, whenever a district conducts a layoff, teachers who cannot afford to take time off from work to obtain their regular credentials earn the same amount of seniority and receive the same due process rights as their fully-credentialed colleagues.
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