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10 N.J.A.R. 151

Rowley, Donald, In the Matter of the Tenure Hearing of, School District of the Manalapan- Englishtown Regional, Monmouth County
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Citation: 10 N.J.A.R. 151
Decision Date: 1983
Synopsis: The Board of Education filed tenure charges of inefficiency against respondent with the Commissioner of Education. The matter was transmitted to the Office of Administrative Law for a hearing. Respondent filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the Board did not comply with the requirements of N.J.S.A. 18A:6-11. When filing charges of inefficiency against a tenured teacher, the statute requires that the employee first be given 90 days in which to correct and overcome the alleged inefficiency. Respondent was given the 90 days, but the Board's actions during that time consisted solely of having five different evaluators observe and report on five of his classroom lessons. The administrative law judge assigned to the case found that the Board's actions did not satisfy the requirements of N.J.S.A. 18A:6-11 and Department of Education guidelines for local school boards im- plementing the tenure law. These guidelines direct that, when a teacher is charged with inefficiency, members of the administrative and super- visory staff must make reasonable efforts to assist the teacher to overcome inefficiencies. An inefficiency charge is different than an imcompentency charge, because inefficiency presumes the teacher is capable and competent but is performing in an inefficient manner. Therefore, the teacher should be given the opportunity to improve and adequate assistance. Because the charges against respondent lacked specificity and be- cause respondent failed to receive ongoing assistance, the adminis- trative law judge dismissed the matter. Adequate assistance would have required that evaluations during the 90-day period be related to specific charges and that there be ongoing efforts to synthesize the In Re: Rowley evaluations to the alleged inefficiencies. The Board had a duty to assist respondent in improving his performance. The Board was directed to reinstate respondent to a teaching po- sition commensurate with his certification and to reimburse him for salary and emoluments withheld during his suspension, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 18A:6-14. Upon review, the Commissioner of Education adopted this initial decision. The Commissioner asserted that when tenure charges of inefficiency are filed against a teacher, a Board is responsible for rendering positive assistance to the teacher in an effort to ovemome inefficiencies. In this case, the Board failed to provide assistance because the charges lacked specificity and because the evaluators did not use the charges as evaluative criteria in observing respondent. Sanford D. Brown, Esq., for petitioner, Board of Education (Dawes & Brown, P.A.) Thomas W. Cavanagh, Jr., Esq., for the respondent (Chamlin, Schott- land, Rosen, Cavanagh & Uliano, attorneys)
Citation Tracker adopted-Com'r of Education; reversed -State Bd. of Education; reversed & remanded 205 N.J. Super 65 (App. Div., 1985) [Updated through 1991]