By George Miller
Wyatt attorneys Byron E. Leet, Lisa C. DeJaco, and Sara C. Veeneman recently obtained a final decision from the Kentucky Supreme Court on behalf of the Jefferson County Board of Education that is important for all school boards in Kentucky. In Sajko v. Jefferson County Board of Education, et al, the court held that a teacher whose contract had been terminated was too late in delivering her notice of intent to contest the decision and answer the charge against her. Under the statute (KRS 161.790(3)), a teacher must give such notice within ten days of receiving the school superintendent’s written specification of the charge against the teacher which is the basis for termination of the contract. If the teacher gives timely notice, then the teacher is entitled to a hearing before a three person tribunal. The teacher’s notice must be sent to both the school superintendent and the Kentucky Commissioner of Education.
In the Sajko case, the teacher’s notice was mailed, but not delivered, to the Commissioner within ten days. The Commissioner received it on the 11th day. The issue before the court was whether the ten day requirement is a receipt requirement or only a mailing requirement. The court held that the statute requires receipt within ten days. So, henceforth, if the teacher’s notice is not received by both the superintendent and the Commissioner within ten days of the teacher’s receipt of the superintendent’s written specification of the charges, then the termination is final, and the teacher has no right to a hearing before a tribunal. The court’s decision became final on July 8, 2010.