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Thursday, July 18, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Substitute Teacher|Fails Court Test

(CN) - A Kentucky school district did not deprive a teacher of a contract because her re-employment as a substitute did not constitute "continuing service," the Kentucky Appeals Court ruled.

Kathy Jones worked from 2001 to 2005 as a teacher in the Laurel County school system. When the preschool program was cut to half days in April, her contract and those of seven other teachers were not renewed. Jones resigned so she could collect unemployment benefits.

Due to an unexpected teacher illness, Jones was able to resume working in September that year. She worked throughout the year, as another long-term substituting position opened up when a different teacher became pregnant.

Although she applied for other teaching positions that year, she was not hired. In May of 2006, she again collected unemployment.

Jones alleged that Laurel County Schools deprived her of a "continuing service" contract, as stipulated by state law, since she had worked for the statutory 4 years.

The appellate court upheld the trial court's dismissal, agreeing that her employment ended with the terminated contract, and that the beginning of her substitute stint constituted a rehiring.

The three-judge panel wrote, "under the circumstances of this case, we cannot find an ulterior motive solely because the superintendent rehired a non-tenured teacher to fill an unanticipated and temporary position after the school year began."

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