Teacher Tenure Hearings – New Online Tenure Case Management System
|THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234|
March 4, 2013
New York City Department of Education; New York State United Teachers;
New York State Council of School Superintendents;
School Administrators Association of New York State;
Council of School Supervisors and Administrators;
New York State School Boards Association;
New York State Association of School Attorneys;
New York State Association of School Personnel Administrators;
Education Law §3020-a Hearing Officers;
American Arbitration Association;
Contracted Court Reporters
|From:||Deborah A. Marriott, Director of the Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability (OSPRA)|
|Subject:||Teacher Tenure Hearings – New Online Tenure Case Management System|
The purpose of this memorandum is to advise you of significant changes in the manner in which the New York State Education Department (“NYSED”) Teacher Tenure Hearing Unit (“TTHU”) will accept and process new Education Law §3020-a tenure cases, hearing requests, assignment of hearing officers, and submission of both court reporter and hearing officer vouchers. NYSED will implement these changes, which incorporate amendments to Education Law §3020-a for post-April 1, 2012 cases, through the TEACH database. The changes will be effective on APRIL 1, 2013.
TEACH is an existing NYSED online database accessible to all authorized users who have created a log-in. It contains certification information for every person who has been issued a teaching certificate or is in the certification process. The TTHU currently employs TEACH to manage existing tenure cases. The planned modifications to TEACH for teacher tenure hearing cases will allow all of the individuals who have some responsibility with respect to tenure cases (i.e., school districts, school law firms, respondent law firms, AAA, hearing officers and court reporters) to interact with the database so that cases move seamlessly through the administrative process with minimal time delays. Highlights of the new Online Tenure Case Management System on TEACH include:
- Instant access to case information;
- Streamlined hearing officer assignments;
- Easy tracking of case deadlines;
- The ability to upload, view and download relevant case documents (charges, transcripts, decisions);
- Online voucher creation and tracking;
- Paperless case management; and
- Instant notification of hearing officer decisions and instant access to uploaded decisions.
April 1, 2013 Launch Date – Applies to All New Cases
The new Online Tenure Case Management System on TEACH will be operational on April 1, 2013. As of that date, all new Education Law 3020-a cases must be submitted to NYSED through the TEACH system. Hearing requests, hearing officer assignments, and all vouchers associated with those cases must be submitted through the new TEACH system, as described below.
At this time, NYSED will continue to manually track and process information and vouchers concerning cases pending through March 31, 2013. The new system affects all new cases filed after April 1, 2013, only.
Mandatory TEACH Account Creation
In order to participate in a case filed after April 1, 2013, all individuals associated with a tenure case (school district, counsel, AAA, hearing officer, and court reporter) must have an account in TEACH so that the Online Tenure Case Management System can be accessed. NYSED will create all of new user accounts (with the exception of individual lawyer accounts within a law firm, as discussed below). Attached to this memorandum is a TEACH user account request form that every party associated with teacher tenure cases (except school districts who have existing TEACH accounts) must complete and submit by March 20, 2013, so that NYSED can create new user accounts for parties associated with tenure cases.
The Online Tenure Case Management System
The Online Tenure Case Management System will operate with within the TEACH system as follows:
School Districts: School districts already have access to TEACH for a variety of reasons. Existing TEACH school district users will see a new link on their TEACH homepage that will give them the ability to “create” a teacher tenure case on TEACH. Schools will begin the process by entering in basic information about new Education Law §3020-a cases, including the request for a hearing and information about who is representing the school district and the teacher, and will upload relevant documents (e.g., charges, hearing request, etc.). It is not necessary for school districts with existing TEACH accounts to create new TEACH user accounts. If a school district wishes to add another TEACH user to their existing account for the Online Tenure Case Management System, please send an email notifying the TTHU of such a request at Tenure@mail.nysed.gov.
AAA: For districts outside of NYC, once a school district has entered information about a new case and a hearing request, AAA will receive an email notification that a case is ready for the selection of a hearing officer. AAA will then be able to log into TEACH and generate the list of potential hearing officers. The list of 15 hearing officer names will be created from those hearing officers who have access to TEACH, i.e., those who have filed a “TEACH User Account Request” form with TTHU. The attorneys representing the parties (identified by the school district when it entered the new case into the system) will be notified via email that AAA has generated a list of potential hearing officers and the list is available for them to make a selection. AAA must complete a “TEACH User Account Request” form so that NYSED may create a TEACH account for AAA.
Law Firms: Each law firm must designate one person to serve as the administrator for the law firm’s TEACH account. The law firm administrator, in turn, will have the ability to create accounts in TEACH for every lawyer in the firm associated with a teacher tenure case. Once the law firm’s TEACH account is created, the law firm administrator will have the ability to assign and re-assign cases within the TEACH system. Every time an automated email is generated from the TEACH system, it will go to the law firm administrator, and to the attorney that the administrator has assigned to the teacher tenure case within the system. Thus, when a school district has identified an attorney as representing either the school district or the teacher on a new teacher tenure case, an email will be generated to the law firm administrator advising the administrator that the firm has been associated with the case in TEACH. After AAA creates a list of potential hearing officers, the law firm and the assigned attorney will be sent an email indicating that their AAA list is available for selection. The lawyers/representatives for each party must then consult as to their hearing officer preference, and log into TEACH to enter in their hearing officer selection. Once the hearing officer selection is made, an email will be sent to the hearing officer notifying the hearing officer that he/she has been selected for a teacher tenure case, and prompting the hearing officer to accept or decline the case assignment.
Please be aware that the automated emails will be going to the account of the individual that a law firm has designated to be the administrator of the firm’s TEACH accounts. In light of the strict statutory deadlines, it is important to designate an email account that is regularly monitored. Please complete “TEACH User Account Request” form to request the creation of a TEACH account for your law firm administrator.
Hearing Officers: In order to be selected for any new case after April 1, 2013, hearing officers must have a TEACH user account so that they may access the Online Tenure Case Management System. AAA hearing officer lists for the parties in tenure cases commencing after April 1, 2013, will be generated from only those hearing officers with an account in the TEACH system. Accordingly, hearing officers wishing to remain available for assignment to Education Law 3020-a cases must complete and promptly submit a “TEACH User Account Request” form to request the creation of a TEACH user account. Please note that hearing officers also must have a Vendor ID with the Statewide Financial System. If NYSED currently does not have a Vendor ID for a particular hearing officer, we will send the hearing officer a NYSED Substitute W-9 form along with this memorandum which also must be completed by the hearing officer and submitted to TTHU before a TEACH user account is created for that hearing officer.
Once the parties have entered their selection of a particular hearing officer from the AAA list onto the TEACH system, the hearing officer will receive an automated email indicating that he/she has a potential teacher tenure case to accept or decline on the TEACH system. The hearing officer will have three (3) days to log into the TEACH system to accept the case assignment. If the hearing officer does not accept the case on the system within three (3) days, the system will process the inaction as a declination and the parties will be notified that another hearing officer must be selected. If a hearing officer accepts a case assignment, the parties will be notified. Hearing officers will have the ability to consolidate related cases, view submitted documents and transcripts, create and submit vouchers, and upload decisions.
Court Reporters: After a court reporter has obtained a TEACH user account, TTHU will designate the court reporter within a contracted region as the assigned court reporter in TEACH for all cases within that contracted region. Once a school district creates a case and a request for a hearing is filed, the court reporter in that contracted region will be notified by email that a new tenure case has been assigned. The court reporter must then use the TEACH system to create vouchers for reimbursement and to upload transcripts and other relevant documents. Please promptly complete and submit a “TEACH User Account Request” form to request the creation of a TEACH user account.
All individuals who need a TEACH account in order to participate in Education Law §3020-a cases filed or initiated after April 1, 2013, must complete and submit a “TEACH User Account Request” form by March 20, 2013, so that NYSED can create user accounts allowing access to the Online Tenure Case Management System on TEACH.
Special Rules for New York City Cases
The TEACH system will treat cases arising out of New York City Department of Education in accordance with the provisions set forth in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NYCDOE and the AFT. Accordingly, AAA will not create a list of potential hearing officers for the cases arising in NYC. Rather, the entire panel of arbitrators jointly selected by the parties will be available for every NYCDOE case. The NYCDOE attorney assigned to the case (or the administrator if no one is assigned) will have the responsibility of designating the arbitrator on the TEACH system. The case will then proceed through TEACH in accordance with the process described above. An email notification will be generated to the selected arbitrator indicating that he or she has been chosen for a case and allowing the option of accepting or declining the assignment of the case on TEACH. It will be necessary for the arbitrator to affirmatively accept the case on the TEACH system in order to submit vouchers. In addition, arbitrators serving on the NYC panel MUST promptly complete and submit a “TEACH User Account Request” form in order to receive assignments for post-April 1, 2013 cases.
In order for NYSED to effectively implement this new paperless case management system, all parties must return the attached user account creation form as expeditiously as possible. Once your account has been created in TEACH, you will receive an email notification that a TEACH account has been created for you. You must open that email and follow the instructions to confirm your account and to obtain access to the new Online Tenure Case Management System. Additional instructions and training information will follow the creation of your TEACH user account.
If you have any questions about the new Online Tenure Case Management System on TEACH or the requisite user account creation form, you may contact TTHU at Tenure@mail.nysed.gov or at (518) 474-3021.