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Model Policy to Implement Public Act 04-243, "An Act Concerning Termination of Coaches"

December 21, 2004

MEMORANDUM

TO:

  Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents

FROM:

  Education Practice Group

RE:

  Model Policy to Implement Public Act 04-243, "An Act Concerning Termination of Coaches"
DATE:
  December 21, 2004

In the last session the General Assembly adopted Public Act 04-243. This new law requires that coaches be evaluated each year, and it gives coaches who have been employed for at least three consecutive years a right to automatic renewal of their contract unless they are notified within ninety days of the end of the season that their employment will not be renewed. Moreover, it gives a coach who receives notification and is not renewed the opportunity to appeal to the board of education "in a manner prescribed by such local or regional board of education."

Given this new statutory requirement, and given the fact that termination of a coach can be a controversial issue, we are advising superintendents and school boards in Connecticut that they should adopt a policy to address these new requirements now, so that they will not be required to prescribe an appeal procedure while in the middle of a specific controversy. Moreover, by addressing these new requirements proactively, boards of education will be ready to deal with related problems as they arise.

The scope of the new legislation is not clear. For example, it is not clear whether assistant coaches are covered, and it is not clear whether any special training or qualification is required for the "immediate supervisor" who by law must now evaluate coaches annually. In this model policy, we have resolved these uncertainties in favor of simplicity and of giving school boards the maximum flexibility in making coaching decisions. If and when the courts interpret the requirements of P.A. 04-243, we will want to review this model policy. However, we think that boards of education will benefit from addressing this issue now, and we hope that this model policy is of assistance to them. We appreciate your agreeing to distribute this policy as a service to your member superintendents.

Series 4000
Personnel

POLICY REGARDING ATHLETIC COACHES

It is the policy of the [___________] Board of Education (the "Board") that an athletic coach employed by the Board shall:

1) adhere to all Board policies, rules and regulations;

2) shall conduct himself or herself in a professional manner; and

3) serve as a role model for students;

4) demonstrate competence and proficiency in his or her role as an athletic coach of a particular sport.

For purposes of this policy, the term "athletic coach" means any person holding a coaching permit who is hired by a local or regional board of education to act as a coach for a sport season. This term "coach" under this policy shall include only coaches who have direct responsibility for one or more teams (including assistant coaches who serve as coach to a team (e.g., JV)), and the term shall not include other assistant coaches and volunteer coaches.

I. Evaluations

Pursuant to state law, the Board requires that an athletic coach employed by the Board be evaluated on an annual basis by the coach’s immediate supervisor. An athletic coach shall be provided with a copy of any such evaluation. Other assistant and volunteer coaches may be evaluated as directed by the Superintendent of Schools or his/her designee.

II. Employment of an Athletic Coach

Athletic coaches serve at the discretion of the Superintendent, and their employment in their specific coaching positions (e.g., basketball, golf) may be non-renewed or terminated at any time except as follows.

If the athletic coach has served in the same coaching position for three or more consecutive school years, the following procedures shall apply. The Superintendent may non-renew the employment of any such athletic coach by providing written notification of that action within ninety (90) calendar days of the end of the season. The Superintendent may terminate the employment of any such athletic coach at any time for 1) for reasons of moral misconduct, insubordination, failure to comply with the Board’s policies, rules and regulations; or 2) because the sport has been canceled. If a decision to terminate a coach’s employment is made during the athletic season, the Superintendent shall remove the coach from duty during the pendency of any hearing conducted pursuant to this policy.

III. Hearing Procedures:

An athletic coach who has served in the same coaching position for three or more consecutive years may appeal any such non-renewal or termination decision (except if such decision was due to cancellation of the sport) to the Board of Education in accordance with the following procedures:

  1. The athletic coach must file a written appeal with the Board within ten (10) calendar days of the Superintendent’s written notification of non-renewal or termination. Such appeal shall set forth the basis on which the athletic coach seeks review of that decision, and a copy of said appeal shall be sent to the Superintendent. Failure to submit a timely written appeal shall constitute a waiver of said appeal opportunity.
  2. Within a reasonable period of time of its receipt of a written appeal of the Superintendent’s decision, the Board or a committee of the Board as designated by the Chairperson shall conduct a hearing to consider such appeal. Reasonable notice of the time and place for such hearing shall be issued to the athletic coach prior to the commencement of the hearing.
  3. At the hearing, the athletic coach shall have an opportunity to present facts and evidence in support of renewal and/or reinstatement, and the Superintendent shall have the opportunity (but shall not be obligated) to present facts and evidence in support of the decision of non-renewal and/or termination. For good cause shown, the athletic coach may call a limited number of witnesses to testify if there is a clear need for witnesses to present factual information (rather than simply expressing an opinion on the skill or competence of the athletic coach). In any event, cumulative or redundant testimony shall not be allowed.
  4. The decision of non-renewal or termination shall be affirmed unless the Board determines that the decision is arbitrary and capricious. The coach shall bear the burden of proof on this point.

Within a reasonable period of time following the hearing, the Board shall determine whether the Superintendent acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner in making his/her decision not to renew and/or to terminate, and shall provide a written decision to the coach. The decision of the Board shall be final.

 
Legal References: Public Act 04-243
 
 
ADOPTED:   __________________
 
379080 v.07 S1 (December 21, 2004)

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