A school district nonrenewed a teacher’s term contract based on a reduction in force (RIF). The following year, the superintendent activated an emergency permit for another individual to teach in a position that the teacher was qualified for. The teacher filed a grievance, claiming that the district improperly activated an emergency permit instead of allowing her to fill the position. The district denied the grievance and the teacher appealed to the commissioner of education.

On appeal, the commissioner addressed whether the superintendent was authorized to issue an emergency permit, which can only be issued when a district can’t secure an appropriately certified and qualified individual. The teacher argued that the district could have secured an appropriately certified and qualified individual without activating an emergency permit by simply assigning her to that position rather than nonrenewing her contract. The commissioner rejected this argument and said that a district wasn’t required to move a teacher into a position in lieu of a RIF. Instead, the commissioner held that the standard for activating an emergency permit was whether the district was unable to secure an appropriately certified and qualified individual after making a reasonable effort to do so. In his decision, the commissioner stated that posting a vacancy for a reasonable amount of time could provide sufficient evidence that the district was unable to secure an appropriate certified and qualified individual.

The commissioner denied the teacher’s grievance.