On April 18, 2017, a teacher was given a term contract for the upcoming school year that was signed by the president of the board of trustees. The contract stated that the offer of employment would expire on April 27, 2017, if the teacher did not sign and return it to the superintendent’s office. 

The next day, the teacher was placed on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation into allegations made against her. She was directed to refrain from contacting staff and to not be on campus while she was on leave. She was directed to contact a specified employee if she needed information or access to the school during this time. While she was on leave, her unsigned contract remained on her desk. She did not contact the specified employee about obtaining the contract.

On May 2, 2017, the teacher was directed to report to the superintendent’s office, where she was informed that the allegations against her had not been substantiated and told that she could return to work. She was also informed that, because she did not return her signed contract by the specified date, she would not be employed by the district for the following year. She signed the contract and filed a grievance that same day. Her grievance was denied by the district’s board of trustees and she appealed to the commissioner of education. 

The commissioner noted that it might be appropriate under some circumstances to extend the time that a teacher has to sign and return a contract. He also agreed that the district made it more difficult for the teacher to sign and return the contract by placing her on leave and directing her to not come onto the campus. However, she could have obtained her contract by contacting the designated employee and did not do so. Therefore, she did not return her contract within the specified timeframe and was not entitled to be employed by the district for the following year. The commissioner upheld the denial of her grievance.