- Download a printable Senate Bill 64 Fact Sheet (PDF)
- View the Public Education Employment Reform presentation
Senate Bill 64 (1st sub.): Public Education Employment Reform is a major education reform bill impacting public education and school employees in many ways. It passed the Senate February 29, 2012, on a vote of 26-2, and the House March 6 on a vote of 73-1 and was signed into law by the Governor on March 27. The bill had the support of the parents, teachers, administrators, policymakers, business leaders and others.
- See why teachers support SB64.
What SB64 Does
(NOTE: "Line" references are to line numbers in the enrolled bill)
Raises the level of accountability for all educators
- Requires all education employees be evaluated annually and that a probationary or provisional educator be evaluated twice a year (lines 457-465)
- Specifies that a summative evaluation differentiate among four levels of performance (line 565)
- Requires the collection and reporting of data on the aggregate distribution of employee evaluation ratings (lines 644-655)
- Guarantees the privacy and protection of individual evaluation data (lines 654-655)
- Creates a definition of unsatisfactory performance separate from causes for immediate termination (lines 410-414)
(See more about the educator evaluation process)
Highlights the importance of continuous instructional improvement
- Specifies that educator evaluations be based on students learning growth (or achievement) and instructional quality (lines 632-638)
- Requires the development and implementation of a valid and reliable evaluation tool (lines 468-477)
- Allows a local school board to develop its own evaluation program, within guidelines set by the State Board of Education, or adopt an evaluation program developed by the State Board (lines 524-526)
- Clarifies the expectations for providing a plan of assistance to an employee in order to improve employee performance and provide a quality educator in every classroom (lines 669-673)
Ties salary to satisfactory performance
- Requires a district’s compensation system be aligned with an annual evaluation system (lines 827-831)
- Provides that any advancement on a salary schedule be based primarily on an evaluation (lines 833-834)
- Specifies that an employee may not advance on a salary schedule if their rating is the lowest level on a four-point scale (lines 835-837)
- With certain exceptions, provides that an employee may not advance on a salary schedule if their rating is the second lowest level on a four-point scale (lines 840-845)
Expedites and clarifies the process for dismissal
- If an evaluation identifies an employee’s performance as unsatisfactory, streamlines the process for remediation to no more than 120 school days, with certain exceptions (lines 746-775)
- If upon re-evaluation the employee’s performance is still identified as unsatisfactory, the district may terminate the employee (lines 776-780)
- Prohibits the transfer to another school of an employee whose performance is unsatisfactory, unless approved by the local school board (lines 821-822)
Requires greater accountability for administrators
- Requires that an administrator’s evaluation include components such as student achievement, parent, student and employee input, and the effectiveness of evaluating employee performance (lines 860-867)
- Implements a compensation system partially based on an administrator’s evaluation (lines 875-880)
How is it that such a sweeping public education reform proposal could achieve so much overwhelming support?
That’s not the way it began. In fact, the original proposal put forth by the State Board of Education and the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Aaron Osmond, included a number of reforms strongly opposed by the UEA and others, such as making all teachers “at will” employees, moving all educators to performance pay, eliminating the Orderly Termination Act for public educators, and minimizing negotiated agreements.
To his credit, Sen. Osmond made his proposal public and asked for feedback. Teachers responded in a big way, sending messages respectfully explaining concerns. As a result, the Senator put his legislation “on hold” and took to the road where he listened to teachers, administrators, board members and superintendents.
As a result of these meetings, Sen. Osmond convened a workgroup of stakeholders to address concerns. Representatives from the State Board of Education, the Utah State Office of Education, the Utah School Boards Association, the Utah School Superintendents Association and the UEA met for several months working on details.
“For the first time that I can remember, UEA was ‘at the table’ and an integral partner in the creation of a major reform bill,” said UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh. “As with any negotiation we did not get all we wanted, but being part of the process allowed us to focus on student learning while protecting teacher rights.”
Indeed, negotiations on this bill were a give-and-take process, according to the UEA Legislative Team. Because of SB64, many harmful bills – such as those that would make all teachers “at-will” employees, eliminate or restrict collective bargaining, or move teachers to a pay-for-test-scores model – failed or were abandoned.
As the bill moved forward, concepts were discussed internally with the UEA Board, the UEA Council of Local Presidents, UniServ Directors, UEA Legal Counsel and UEA members. “We received support and input from each of these groups and I believe the (final) bill reflects our concerns and honors our contract, preserves orderly termination procedures and elevates our profession,” said Gallagher-Fishbaugh.”
Full implementation of SB64 will not begin immediately. In order to coordinate with the evaluation framework already in development by the State Board of Education and to allow for piloting and assessing the new evaluation system, compliance with all evaluation requirements must be in place by 2014-15. For non-administrators, tying performance on an evaluation to advancement on a salary schedule must begin by 2015-16. For administrators, phasing in salary increases until up to 15 percent of salary is based on an evaluation must begin by 2015-16. Provisions regarding the process for nonrenewal of a contract may begin immediately.
In an email to all UEA members, UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh explained why the UEA supported this proposal.