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IL Court Clarifies RIF Rules When Tenured Teacher Evaluated Twice in One School Year

K-12 Education Publications

Decisions on reductions in force in school districts are not common in Illinois, so a recent opinion from the Fourth District Appellate Court warrants brief mention. The issue in a recent case, Nafziger v. Board of Education of Staunton Community Unit School District No. 6, centered on which evaluation ratings are determinative of a teacher’s grouping placement on the sequence of honorable dismissal list. The teacher who brought the lawsuit claimed she was improperly honorably dismissed after being placed in Group 2 on the sequence of honorable dismissal list for a RIF. Although the teacher’s final evaluation ratings for the previous two school terms justified her placement in Group 2, she argued that she should have been placed in Group 3 because she received two “Proficient” evaluation ratings in the school term immediately preceding the RIF. The Illinois Appellate Court disagreed and clarified that a school district must consider available evaluation ratings from the two school terms preceding a RIF in determining a teacher’s grouping placement. If a teacher receives more than one evaluation in a school term, then only the last evaluation from that school term should be relied upon. For more information on this or any other RIF issues, contact the authors of this post or any other Franczek attorney.