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2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD

Policies and Regulations

School Board of the City of Virginia Beach
Regulation 4-3.1

PERSONNEL

Grievance Procedure - Teachers

The School Board adopts employee grievance procedures that are consistent with the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, and applicable regulations.

PART I - Definitions

The following words and terms, when used in these regulations, shall have the following meaning, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Business day" means any day that the relevant School Board office is open.

"Day" means calendar days unless a different meaning is clearly expressed in this regulation. Whenever the last day for performing an act required by this regulation falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the act may be performed on the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

"Dismissal" means the dismissal of any teacher during the term of such teacher's contract.

"Grievance" means a complaint or a dispute by a teacher relating to his or her employment, including but not necessarily limited to: 1) disciplinary action including dismissal; 2) the application or interpretation of: a) personnel policies; b) procedures; c) rules and regulations; d) ordinances; and e) statutes; 3) acts of reprisal against a teacher for filing or processing a grievance, participating as a witness in any step, meeting or hearing relating to a grievance; and 4) complaints of discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, political affiliation, handicap, age, national origin, or sex. The School Board shall have the exclusive right to manage the affairs and operations of the School Division. Accordingly, the term "grievance" shall not include a complaint or dispute by a teacher relating to: 1) the establishment and revision of wages or salaries, position classifications, or general benefits; 2) suspension of a teacher or non-renewal of the contract of a teacher who has not achieved continuing contract status; 3) the establishment or contents of ordinances, statutes, or personnel policies, procedures, rules, and regulations; 4) failure to promote; 5) discharge, layoff, or suspension from duties because of decrease in enrollment, decrease in enrollment or abolition of a particular subject, or insufficient funding; 6) hiring, transfer, assignment, and retention of teachers within the School Division; 7) suspension from duties in emergencies; 8) the methods, means, and personnel by which the School Divisionís operations are to be carried on; or 9) coaching or extracurricular activity sponsorship. While these management rights are reserved for the School Board, failure to apply, where applicable, these rules, regulations, policies, or procedures as written or established by the School Board is grievable.

"Personnel file" means, for the purpose of Part III, any and all memoranda, entries, or other documents included in the teacher's file as maintained in the central school administration office or in any file on the teacher maintained within a school in which the teacher serves.

"Teacher" or "teachers" means, for the purpose of Part II, all employees of the School Division involved in classroom instruction and all other full-time employees of the School Division except those employees classified as supervising employees. "Teacher" means, for the purpose of Part III, all regularly certified/licensed professional public school personnel employed under a written contract as provided by Section 22.1-302 of the Code of Virginia by the School Board as a teacher or supervisor of classroom teachers but excluding all superintendents.

"Shall file," "shall respond in writing," or "shall serve written notice" means the document is either delivered personally to the grievant or office of the proper School Board representative or is mailed by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, and postmarked within the time limits prescribed by this procedure.

"Supervisory employee" means any person having authority in the interest of the School Board: i) to hire, transfer, suspend, layoff, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, or discipline other employees; and ii) to direct other employees; or iii) to adjust the grievance of other employees; or iv) to recommend any action set forth in (i), (ii), or (iii) above; provided that the authority to act as set forth in i), ii), iii), or iv) requires the exercise of independent judgment and is not merely routine and clerical in nature.

"Written grievance appeal" means a written or typed statement describing the event or action complained of or the date of the event or action, and a concise description of those policies, procedures, regulations, ordinances or statues upon which the teacher bases his or her claim. The grievant shall specify what he or she seeks through use of the grievance procedure. A statement shall be written upon forms prescribed by the Virginia Board of Education and supplied by the local School Board.

PART II - Grievance Procedure

Section 2.1 - Purpose of Part II of this Grievance Procedure

The purpose of Part II of this procedure is to provide an orderly procedure for resolving disputes concerning the application, interpretation, or violation of any of the provisions of local School Board policies, procedures, rules, and regulations as they affect the work of teachers, other than dismissal. An equitable solution of grievances should be secured at the most immediate administrative level. The procedure should not be construed as limiting the right of any teacher to discuss any matter of concern with any member of the school administration. Nor should the procedure be construed to restrict any teacher's right to seek, or the school administration's right to provide, review of complaints that are not included within the definition of a grievance. Nothing in this procedure shall be interpreted to limit a School Board's exclusive final authority over the management and operation of the School Division.

Section 2.2 - Grievance Procedure

Recognizing that grievances should be begun and settled promptly, a grievance must be initiated within fifteen (15) business days following either the event giving rise to the grievance, or within fifteen (15) business days following the time when the employee knew or reasonably should have known of its occurrence. Grievances shall be processed as follows:

  1. Step 1 - Informal

    The first step shall be an informal conference between the teacher and his or her immediate supervisor (which may be the principal). The teacher shall state the nature of the grievance, and the immediate supervisor shall attempt to adjust the grievance. It is mandatory that the teacher present the grievance informally prior to proceeding to Step 2. Teachers are not entitled to have lawyers or personal representatives present at the informal conference.

  2. Step 2 - Principal

    If for any reasons the grievance is not resolved informally in Step 1 to the satisfaction of the teacher, the teacher must perfect his or her grievance by filing said grievance in writing within fifteen (15) business days following the event giving rise to the grievance, or within fifteen (15) business days following the time when the employee knew or reasonably should have known of its occurrence, specifying on the form the specific relief sought. Regardless of the outcome of Step 1, if a written grievance is not, without just cause, filed within the specified time, the grievance will be barred.

    A meeting shall be held between the principal (and/or his or her designee) and the teacher (and/or his or her designee) within five (5) business days of the receipt by the principal of the written grievance. At such meeting the teacher and/or other party involved shall be entitled to present appropriate witnesses and have a representative present other than an attorney. The principal (and/or his or her designee) shall respond in writing within five (5) business days following such meeting.

    A meeting shall be held between the principal (and/or his or her designee) and the teacher (and/or his or her designee) within five (5) business days of the receipt by the principal of the written grievance. At such meeting the teacher and/or other party involved shall be entitled to present appropriate witnesses and have a representative present other than an attorney. The principal (and/or his or her designee) shall respond in writing within five (5) business days following such meeting.

  3. Step 3 - Superintendent

    If the grievance is not settled to the teacher's satisfaction in Step 2, the teacher can proceed to Step 3 by filing a written notice of appeal with the Superintendent, accompanied by the original grievance appeal form within five (5) business days after receipt of the Step 2 answer (or the due date of such answer). A meeting shall then be held between the Superintendent (and/or his or her designee) and the teacher (and/or his or her designee) at a mutually agreeable time within five (5) businessdays. At such meeting both the Superintendent and the teacher shall be entitled to present witnesses and to be represented by legal counsel and another representative. A representative may examine, cross-examine, question, and present evidence on behalf of a grievant or the Superintendent without violating the provisions of Section 54.1-3904 of the Code of Virginia,as amended. If no settlement can be reached in said meeting, the Superintendent (or his or her designee) shall respond in writing within five (5) business days following such meeting. The Superintendent or designee may make a written request for more specific information from the teacher, but only if such was not requested in Step 2. Such request shall be answered within ten (10) business days, and the meeting shall be held within five business days of the date on which the answer was received. If the grievance is not resolved to the satisfaction of the teacher in Step 3, the teacher may elect to have a hearing as provided in Step 4.

  4. Step 4 - Hearing Officer

    In the event the grievance is not settled upon completion of Step 3 the teacher may request that a further hearing on the grievance be held. If the teacher elects to proceed to Step 4, he or she must notify the Superintendent in writing of the intention to request a further hearing and enclose a copy of the original grievance form within ten (10) business days after receipt of a Step 3 answer (or the due date of such answer). The School Board elects to have all requests for further hearings be assigned to a hearing officer who will be appointed by the School Board as provided by law. The School Board authorizes the Superintendent or designee to maintain a list of eligible hearing officers and make all arrangements for the appointment of a hearing officer and necessary arrangements for conducting such further hearings. The School Board may choose to hear a specific grievance rather than directing the grievance to a hearing officer at its sole discretion If the School Board chooses to hear a specific grievance rather than have a hearing officer conduct the hearing, the School Board will follow the procedure set forth in 1-3 below ; however no report will be made other than the School Boardís final decision.

    1. Holding of Hearing

      The further hearing shall be set within fifteen (15) days of the request and the teacher shall be given at least five daysí written notice of the time and place. Waiver of the time period to hold the hearing may only happen for unusual or emergency circumstances. At the hearing, the teacher may appear with or without a representative. Non-availability of legal counsel or personal representatives due to scheduling issues will not constitute unusual or emergency circumstances for the purpose of waiving the time period.

    2. Procedure for the Hearing before a Hearing Officer
      1. The hearing officer shall determine the propriety of attendance at the hearing of persons not having a direct interest in the hearing, provided that, at the request of the teacher, the hearing shall be private.
      2. The hearing officer may ask for statements from the Superintendent and the teacher clarifying the issues involved at the beginning of the hearing and at the discretion of the hearing officer may allow closing statements.
      3. The parties shall then present their claims in evidence. Witnesses may be questioned by the hearing officer, the teacher and the Superintendent, or their representatives. The hearing officer, in his discretion, may vary this procedure, but shall afford full and equal opportunity for all parties to present any material or relevant evidence and shall afford the parties the right of cross-examination.
      4. The parties shall produce such additional evidence as the hearing officer may deem necessary to an understanding and determination of the dispute. The hearing officer will be the judge of the relevancy and materiality of the evidence offered. All evidence shall be taken in the presence of the hearing officer l and of the parties.
      5. Exhibits offered by the teacher or the Superintendent may be received in evidence by the hearing officer and, when so received, shall be marked and made a part of the record.
      6. The hearing officer shall make a written recommendation to the School Board and the teacher as soon as practicable but no more than 10 business days after the close of the hearing.
      7. The hearing officer shall create a recording of the hearing and transmit the recording along with the written recommendation to the School Board. The recording may be a stenographic record or tape recording. If the grievance concerns matters other than dismissal, the recording may be dispensed with entirely by mutual consent of the parties. If the recording is not dispensed with, the two (2) parties shall share equally the cost of the recording. If either party requests a transcript, that party shall bear the expense involved in preparing it. If the grievance concerns a dismissal, the recording may not be dispensed with.
    3. Expenses
      1. The teacher shall bear his or her own expenses. The School Board shall bear the expenses of the Superintendent. The expenses of the hearing officer l shall be borne one-half by the School Board and one-half by the teacher.
      2. The Superintendent or designee is authorized to set the per diem rate of the hearing officer
      3. Witnesses who are employees of the School Board shall be granted release time if the hearing is held during the school day. The hearing shall be held at the school in which most witnesses work, if feasible.
    4. Right to Further Hearing before the School Board

      Following a hearing by a hearing officer, the School Board may make its decision upon the record or recording of the hearing conducted before the hearing officer, or the School Board may elect to conduct a further hearing to receive additional evidence by giving written notice of the time and place to the teacher and the Superintendent within ten (10) business days after the School Board receives the record or recording of the initial hearing. Such notice shall specify each matter to be inquired into by the School Board. The School Board will give the teacher its written decision as soon as practicable and not more than thirty (30) days after receiving the record or recording of the hearing; however, should there be a further hearing before the School Board, such decision shall be furnished the teacher as soon as practicable and not more than thirty (30) days after such further hearing has concluded.

    5. The School Board's attorney, assistants, or representative, if he, she, or they represented a participant in the prior proceedings, the grievant, the grievantís attorney, or representative and, notwithstanding the provisions of Virginia Code § 22.1-69, as amended, the Superintendent shall be excluded from any executive session of the School Board which has as its purpose reaching a decision on a grievance. However, immediately after a decision has been made and publicly announced, as in favor of or not in favor of the grievant, the School Board's attorney or representative and the Superintendent may join the School Board in executive session to assist in the writing of the decision.
    6. The School Board shall retain its exclusive final authority over matters concerning employment and the supervision of its personnel. The School Board may alter, accept or reject any decision by the Superintendent, the School Administration or a hearing officer.

Section 2.3 - Grievability

  1. Initial Determination of Grievability

    Decisions regarding whether a matter is grievable shall be made by the School Board at the request of the Superintendent or teacher. The School Board shall reach its decision only after allowing the Superintendent and the teacher the opportunity to present written or oral arguments regarding grievability. The decision as to whether the arguments shall be written or oral shall be in the discretion of the School Board. Decisions of the School Board shall be made within ten (10) business days of such request. Such determination of grievability shall be made subsequent to the reduction of the grievance to writing but prior to any hearing before a hearing officer or the School Board or the right to such determination shall be deemed to have been waived. Failure of the School Board to make such a determination within such a prescribed ten business-day period shall entitle the teacher to advance to the next step as if the matter were grievable. Parties are not entitled to a grievability determination regarding failure to comply with substantial grievance procedure requirements.

  2. Appeal of Determination on Grievability
    1. Decisions of the School Board regarding grievabiliy may be appealed to the Virginia Beach Circuit Court as set forth by law.

Section 2.4 - Time Limitations

The right of any party to proceed at any step of this Part II grievance procedure shall be conditioned upon compliance with the time limitations and other requirements set forth in this procedure.

  1. The failure of the teacher to comply with all substantial procedural requirements including initiation of the grievance and notice of appeal to the next step in the procedure shall eliminate the teacher's right to any further proceedings on the grievance unless just cause for such failure can be shown.
  2. The failure of the School Board or any supervisory employee to comply with all substantial procedural requirements without just cause shall entitle the grievant, at his or her option, to advance to the next step in the procedure or, at the final step, to a decision in his or her favor.
  3. The determination as to whether the substantial procedural requirements of Part II of this procedure s have been complied with shall be made by the School Board. In any case in which there is a factual dispute as to whether the procedural requirements have been met or just cause has been shown for failure to comply, the School Board shall have the option of allowing the grievant to proceed to the next step. The fact that the grievance is allowed to proceed in such case shall not prevent any party from raising such failure to observe the substantial procedural requirements as an affirmative defense at any further hearing involving the grievance.

Section 2.5 - Separability

If any portion of Part II of this procedure, or the application thereof, shall be held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this procedure and the application thereof in all other circumstances where not expressly held invalid shall not be affected thereby.

PART III

Part III of this procedure, is to provide an orderly procedure for the expeditious resolution of disputes involving the dismissal of any teacher. Teachers may be recommended for dismissal in accordance with Code of Virginia §22.1-307, as amended. School Board Regulation 4-3.2 provides the procedure for resolving recommendations for dismissal, suspension or other disciplinary action for non-instructional and classified employees.

Section 3.1 - Procedure for Teacher Dismissals

  1. Notice to Teacher of Recommendation for Dismissal
    1. In the event the Superintendent determines to recommend dismissal of any teacher, written notice shall be sent to the teacher on forms to be prescribed by the Virginia Board of Education notifying him or her of the proposed dismissal and informing the teacher that within ten (10) business days after receiving the notice, the teacher may request a hearing before the School Board. The School Board elects to have all requests for further hearings be assigned to a hearing officer who will be appointed by the School Board as provided by law. The School Board authorizes the Superintendent or designee to maintain a list of eligible hearing officers and make all arrangements for the appointment of a hearing officer and necessary arrangements for conducting such further hearings. At its sole discretion, the School Board may choose to hear a specific grievance rather than directing the grievance to a hearing officer.
    2. During such ten (10) business day period and thereafter until a hearing is held in accordance with the provisions of this section if one is requested by the teacher, the merits of the recommendation of the Superintendent or designee shall not be considered, discussed, or acted upon by the School Board except as provided for in this section.
    3. At the request of the teacher, the Superintendent or designee will provide the reasons for the recommendation in writing or, if the teacher prefers, in a personal interview. In the event that a teacher requests a hearing, the Superintendent or designee shall provide, within ten (10) days of the request, the teacher or his representative with the opportunity to inspect and copy his personnel file and all other documents relied upon in reaching the decision to recommend dismissal. Within ten (10) days of the request of the Superintendent or designee, the teacher or his representative shall provide the Superintendent or designee with the opportunity to inspect and copy the documents to be offered in rebuttal to the decision to recommend dismissal. The Superintendent or designee and the teacher or his representative shall be under a continuing duty to disclose and produce any additional documents identified later which may be used in the respective partiesí cases-in-chief. The cost of copying such documents shall be paid by the requesting party.
    4. Holding of Hearing

      The hearing shall be held within fifteen (15) calendar days from the date of the request for a hearing. The teacher and the Superintendent each may have present at the hearing and be represented at all stages by a legal counsel and another representative.

    5. Procedure for the Hearing
      1. The hearing officer or the School Board (if the hearing is before the School Board) shall determine the propriety of attendance at the hearing of persons not having a direct interest in the hearing, provided that, at the request of the teacher, the hearing shall be public.
      2. At the beginning of the hearing, statements from the Superintendent and the teacher (or their representatives) clarifying the issues will be allowed and, at the discretion of the hearing officer or the School Board closing statements, also may be allowed.
      3. The parties shall then present their claims in evidence. Witnesses may be questioned by the hearing officer or the School Board or by the teacher and the Superintendent, or their representatives. However, the hearing officer or the School Board l may, at its discretion, vary this procedure, but shall afford full and equal opportunity to all parties for presentation of any material or relevant evidence and shall afford the parties the right of cross-examination.
      4. The parties shall produce such additional evidence as the hearing officer or the School Board may deem necessary to an understanding and determination of the dispute. The hearing officer or the School Board may be the judge of the relevancy and materiality of the evidence offered. All evidence shall be taken in the presence of the hearing officer and the parties.
      5. Exhibits offered by the teacher or the Superintendent may be received in evidence and, when so received, shall be marked and made a part of the record.
      6. In hearings before a hearing officer, the written recommendations made by the hearing officer shall be based exclusively upon the evidence presented at the hearing.
      7. The hearing may be reopened by the hearing officer at any time before the hearing officerís report is made or before the School Board has rendered a final decision. Upon its own motion, the hearing officer or the School Board, may reopen the hearing or may reopen upon application of the teacher or the Superintendent for good cause shown to hear after-discovered evidence.
      8. If the recommendation for dismissal is heard before a hearing officer, the hearing officer shall make a written recommendation to the School Board, the Superintendent, and the teacher, not later than ten (10) business days after the completion of the hearing.
      9. A stenographic record or tape recording of the proceedings shall be taken. In cases of dismissal, a record or recording of the proceedings shall be made and preserved for a period of six months. If either the teacher or the School Board requests that a transcript of the record or recording be made at any time prior to expiration of the six-(6) month period, it shall be made and copies shall be furnished to both parties. The School Board shall bear the expense of the recording and the transcription.
    6. Expenses
      1. The teacher shall bear his or her own expenses. The School Board shall bear the expenses of the Superintendent. The expenses of the hearing officer shall be borne one-half by the School Board and one-half by the teacher.
      2. The School Board authorizes the Superintendent or designee to maintain a list of eligible hearing officers and make all arrangements for the appointment of a hearing officer and necessary arrangements for conducting such hearings.
    7. Decision by the School Board and Further Hearing

      At its sole discretion, the School Board may choose to hear a specific grievance rather than directing the grievance to a hearing officer. If the School Board hears the grievance, the School Board will render its decision within ten (10) business days after the close of the hearing. If the hearing is held before a hearing officer, the School Board may make its decision upon the record or recording the hearing as well as the hearing officerís report or it may elect to hold a further hearing to receive additional evidence. In either circumstance, the School Board will reach its decision on the case by a majority vote of a quorum of the School Board If the School Board elects to hold a further hearing, it will give written notice to the Superintendent and the teacher within ten (10) business days after it receives the record or recording of initial hearing. Such notice shall also specify the matter to be inquired into by the School Board. In the case of a hearing before the School Board, the School Board shall give the teacher its written decision as soon as practicable but not more than thirty (30) days after the hearing. A teacher may be dismissed or suspended by a majority vote of a quorum of the School Board.

    8. The teacher and the Superintendent may be represented by legal counsel and another representative. The hearing before the School Board shall be private, unless the teacher requests a public hearing. The School Board shall establish the rules for the conduct of any hearing before it. Such rules shall include the opportunity for the teacher and the Superintendent to make opening statement and to present all material or relevant evidence and to cross-examine the witnesses. Witnesses may be questioned by the School Board.
    9. A record or recording of the proceedings shall be made and preserved for a period of six (6) months. If either the teacher or the School Board requests that a transcript of the record or recording be made at any time prior to expiration of the six-month period, it shall be made and copies shall be furnished to both parties. The School Board shall bear the expense of the recording and the transcription.
    10. The School Board's attorney, assistants, or representative, if he, she, or they represented a participant in the prior proceedings, the grievant, the grievant's attorney, or representative, and notwithstanding the provisions of Virginia Code Section 22.1-69, as amended, the Superintendent shall be excluded from any executive session of the School Board which has as its purpose reaching a decision on a grievance. However, immediately after a decision has been made and publicly announced, as in favor of or not in favor of the grievant, the School Board's attorney or representative and the Superintendent may join the School Board in executive session to assist in the writing of the decision.

Section 3.2 - Time Limitations

The right of any party to proceed at any step of the grievance procedure shall be conditioned upon compliance with the time limitations and other requirements set forth in this grievance procedure.

  1. The failure of the grievant to comply with all substantial procedural requirements shall terminate the teacher's right to any further proceedings on the grievance unless just cause for such failure can be shown.
  2. The failure of the School Board or of any supervisory employee to comply with all substantial procedural requirements without just cause shall entitle the grievant, at his or her option, to advance to the next step in the procedure, or, at the final step, to a decision in his or her favor.
  3. The determination as to whether the substantial procedural requirements of Part III of this procedure have been complied with shall be made by the School Board. I n any case in which there is a factual dispute as to whether the procedural requirements have been met or just cause has been shown for failure to comply, the School Board shall have the option of allowing the grievance to proceed to its next step. The fact that the grievance is allowed to proceed in such case shall not prevent any party from raising such failure to observe the substantial procedural requirements as an affirmative defense at any further hearing involving the grievance.

Section 3.3 - Separability

If any portion of Part III of the procedure, or the application thereof, shall be held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this procedure and the application thereof in all other circumstances where not expressly held invalid shall not be affected thereby.

Legal Reference:

Code of Virginia §22.1-306, as amended. Definitions.

Code of Virginia §22.1-307, as amended. Dismissal of teacher; grounds.

Code of Virginia §22.1-309, as amended. Notice to teacher or recommendation of dismissal; school board not to consider merits during notice; superintendent required to provide reasons for recommendation upon request.

Code of Virginia §22.1-311, as amended. Hearing before school board or hearing officer.

Code of Virginia §22.1-313, as amended. Decision of school board; generally.

Code of Virginia §22.1-314. Decision of school board; issue of grievability; appeal.

**Effective July 1, 2013 the Code of Virginia amended the grievance procedures for teachers. The Virginia Department of Education did not amend the corresponding regulations. Accordingly, inconsistencies exist between the Code of Virginia and Procedure for Adjusting Grievances as currently set forth in 8VAC20-90 et seq. The procedures set forth in this Regulation will be followed until such time as the Virginia Board of Education adopts regulations consistent with the Code of Virginia. Should the Virginia Board of Education regulations become effective before this Regulation is amended, the School Board will follow the Virginia Board of Education regulations.

Approved by Superintendent: July 16, 1991
Revised by Superintendent: September 15, 1992
Approved by School Board: (See School Board Policy 4-3)
Revised by Superintendent: December 3, 2003
Revised by Superintendent: October 28, 2013
Revised by Superintendent: September 9, 2014
Revised by Superintendent: May 22, 2015