A teacher’s contract was proposed for nonrenewal, and the teacher requested a hearing before the board of trustees. At the hearing, the school district didn’t present any witnesses. Instead, the district submitted statements from students, and the board voted to nonrenew the teacher’s contract at the conclusion of the hearing. The teacher filed an appeal to the commissioner of education and the commissioner upheld the nonrenewal. The teacher then appealed the nonrenewal to district court.

The district court overturned the decision of the commissioner of education and reversed the nonrenewal. In doing so, the court observed that when a teacher requests a hearing to challenge the proposed nonrenewal of the contract, the law specifically states that the teacher has the right to “cross examine adverse witnesses.” If the district is permitted to simply submit statements instead of live witnesses, the teacher is deprived of this right. Therefore, a district must present those witnesses so that a teacher has the opportunity to cross examine them during the hearing.