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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    7

    Default Dismissal of Public High School Teacher Without Rice Notice

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: NJ

    I was recently dismissed from my position as a non-tenured public high school teacher. I don't believe that the reasons for dismissal were valid - essentially that student grades were too low during the first quarter of the year. I had 19 of 86 students fail the first quarter. In any case, I understand that my contract does allow for my dismissal for any cause. However, it was very important to me that my dismissal be discussed in an open session at the Board of Education and I was also denied that opportunity. I received a notice that the Board was going to discuss my dismissal (Rice letter) but it arrived too late for me to make the request. The Superintendent gave me the following explanation for why the Rice notice was not needed in this case:

    "The Board voted in public, without discussion, using your employee identification number."

    Is it true that a Rice notice is optional when a public employee is being dismissed?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    35,894

    Default Re: Dismissal of Public High School Teacher - Without Rice Notice

    It's not so much that a Rice notice is optional; what's important is whether or not the school had a valid exception, and - perhaps - the timing.

    The school evidently did have a legit exception. What was the timeline though?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Dismissal of Public High School Teacher - Without Rice Notice

    Timeline:
    Approx. 11:30 am day of hearing - I received Rice letter by certified mail.
    12:00 pm day of hearing - Deadline for requesting open hearing.
    Schools and administrative offices were closed that day due to snow so I was unable to make the request for an open hearing.
    6:30 pm - Board of Education meeting held / dismissal decision.

    Could you clarify what you mean by an "exception"?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    35,894

    Default Re: Dismissal of Public High School Teacher - Without Rice Notice

    There are exceptions to the "Rice" requirements; for example discussion about the employee's hiring, firing and/or performance are generally exempt from the Rice requirements and must be discussed in a "closed" hearing though the employee has the opportunity to waive the closed hearing and instead go public. The bigger question seems to be what is or is not considered "adequate notice".

    Do you know when the letter was mailed?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Dismissal of Public High School Teacher - Without Rice Notice

    The postmark is also on the day of the hearing - very fast delivery.

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