Superintendent’s Memo #134-13

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

May 17, 2013

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  Probationary Term of Service for Teachers

The 2013 Virginia General Assembly approved Senate Bill 1223 to amend and reenact Sections 2.2-507, 22.1-79, 22.1-253.13:5, 22.1-293, 22.1-294, 22.1-295, 22.1-298.1, 22.1-299, 22.1-302, 22.1-303, 22.1-304, 22.1-305, 22.1-305.1, 22.1-306, 22.1-307, 22.1-309, 22.1-311, 22.1-313, and 22.1-314 of the Code of Virginia and to repeal Sections 22.1-299.3, 22.1-310, and 22.1-312 of the Code of Virginia, relating to public schools, contracts, evaluation policies, and grievance procedures.  The bill incorporated Senate Bill 935 and is identical to House Bill 2151.

This legislation amended Section 22.1-303 of the Code of Virginia, in part, as follows:

A.  A probationary term of service for three of at least three years and, at the option of the local school board, up to five years in the same school division shall be required before a teacher is issued a continuing contract.

This amendment to the Code requires a probationary term of at least three years for teachers to be issued a continuing contract but also provides an option for school boards to allow a probationary term of up to five years, which may be made on a case-by-case, individual teacher basis.  This amendment to the statute becomes effective July 1, 2013, and the legislation was not intended to deny teachers eligible for continuing contract after successfully teaching three years this school year (2012-2013) and to require such teachers to serve up to five years prior to obtaining continuing contract status.

Teachers employed after completing the probationary period shall be entitled to continuing contracts during good behavior and competent service. As set forth in Section 22.1-304 of the Code, written notice of noncontinuation of the contract by either party must be given by June 15 of each year; otherwise the contract continues in effect for the ensuing year in conformity with local salary stipulations including increments.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs. Patty S. Pitts, assistant superintendent for teacher education and licensure, by e-mail at Patty.Pitts@doe.virginia.gov or by phone at (804) 371-2522.

PIW/psp