Legal Aspects of Teacher Contracts

High-angle photo of people inside library with mini stage on room's corner.jpg

According to Education Sector, the use of teacher contracts gained popularity in the 1960s and 1970s in order to improve working conditions for teachers. Teacher contracts are legally binding agreements between the school district and the teacher.

1 Time Frames

Teacher contracts typically span a time frame of one school year, or 10 months. While a teacher is under contract, he cannot leave employment without requesting to be released from the contract. Also, during the contract time frame, schools cannot dismiss a teacher without a legal hearing.

2 Features

Teacher contracts typically specify a teacher's yearly salary. The contract may also mention other benefits. Contracts also outline job responsibilities. Some districts may keep the teacher's title generic by referring to the teacher as a "secondary teacher" rather than an "English teacher." Schools do this just in case they need to move a teacher to a new position when the school year begins. Other possible items included in a teacher contract include information about performance evaluations, requirements to disclose any felony charges, provisions for laying off teachers and procedures for conflict resolution between teachers and administrators.

3 Considerations

A teacher contract becomes effective once the teacher signs and returns the contract to her school's administrator. Schools usually give out contracts at the end of the school year and give teachers 10 days to review the contract. If the teacher does not return the contract by the deadline, the contract becomes null.

Based in Laurel, Miss., Melody Morgan Hughes covers topics related to education, money and health. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English education from the University of Southern Mississippi, a Master of Education from William Carey University and a Master of Education from Nova Southeastern University.