‘Tis the Season to Get Tenure! Remember New Tenure Rules in Effect Under PERA
With PERA’s full implementation on September 1, 2016, it is important to remember that all full-time probationary teachers who are first employed with a school district after a district’s PERA implementation date are subject to the new tenure rules. While most probationary teachers will still attain tenure in four years, under PERA, probationary teachers can now achieve tenure in three years and, in some rare cases, in two years.
To refresh, a teacher first employed on a full-time basis after the school district’s PERA implementation date may accrue tenure in one of three ways:
Traditional Tenure: Traditional tenure can be obtained after a teacher completes four consecutive school terms of service in which the teacher receives an overall annual performance evaluation rating of “Proficient” or “Excellent” in the last school term and at least a rating of “Proficient” or “Excellent” in either of the teacher’s second or third school term of service to the district.
Accelerated Tenure: Accelerated tenure is available after a teacher completes three consecutive school terms of service in which the teacher receives three overall annual performance evaluation ratings of “Excellent.” Key points to keep in mind about accelerated tenure are:
- If you have any third-year probationary teachers who received “Excellent” ratings in their first and second year, they are eligible for “accelerated tenure” if they receive an “Excellent” rating this year (2018-2019 school year).
- Be judicious in rating a new teacher “Excellent.”
Portable Tenure: Portable tenure is available after a teacher completes two consecutive school terms of service in which the teacher receives two overall annual performance evaluation ratings of “Excellent”, but only if the teacher:
- Previously attained tenure in a different school district in Illinois; and
- Voluntarily left or was honorably dismissed (RIF) from the prior Illinois school district in the school term immediately prior to the teacher’s employment with the District; and
- Received a rating of “Proficient” or “Excellent” on the two most recent overall performance evaluations from the prior Illinois school district with both ratings occurring after the prior school district’s PERA implementation date.
Remember, in this circumstance, the teacher must provide official copies of the two performance evaluations from the prior Illinois school district within 60 days of the teacher’s first day of service to the District. Unless a teacher is coming from a school district that implemented PERA early, teachers are first eligible for “portable tenure” in the 2021—2022 school year.
There is no statutory authority for a school district to change the tenure acquisition timelines. Accordingly, be mindful as you are evaluating and reviewing probationary teachers of an individual teacher’s past ratings and tenure attainment path.