House Bill 76 is currently under consideration by the General Assembly. This bill extends the time from April 15th to June 15th that school districts have to notify teachers that are not on continuing contract of the districts intent to move forward with non-renewal or renewal of their contracts.
If passed, this legislation could cause districts to modify their policy by adjusting the dates set forth for notification of non-renewal and in turn adjusting the dates for the evaluation cycle of probationary teachers. For example, in my district, teachers receive their final evaluation by March 1st, which is a month beyond the mid-point of the year. This process is held so early in the year to allow administrators and the district enough time to meet the state requirement of communicating the intent of non-renewal by April 15th. Extending the timeframe of notification will allow building administrators at least two more months (until May) to assess the quality of probationary teachers and decide whether of not to pursue non-renewal. Based on my understanding of this bill, it would be fairly easy to implement in districts. It appears to require only the shifting of timeframes. If this bill passes, if can be beneficial to districts and probationary teachers. The extended time allows teachers to continue to utilize opportunities to improve their practice. Instead of one-half year of teaching experience a teacher would have basically a year of experience. This extension would also allow additional time for administrators to collect data and/or provide support to teachers. At this point, it looks likely that this bill will pass. It has moved through the House subcommittee with no opposition. It is currently in the process of being produced in its final form.