CHAPEL HILL – Senate Bill 361 is seeking to eliminate tenure for North Carolina public school teachers in five years. The bill received approval by the Senate Education Committee earlier this month, but not everyone thinks it’s a good idea.

Teachers currently are eligible for tenure after four years of consecutive contract renewal. Teachers’ contracts are not re-evaluated after receiving tenure; they also have the right to a hearing before being fired.

Under the proposed bill, district leaders would evaluate all teachers with at least three years of experience, offering four-year contracts to the top 25 percent. Teachers who earn the extended contracts also would be rewarded with annual bonuses of at least $500.

All other teachers would work under annual contracts.

Jeffery Nash is the Executive Director of Community Relations for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.

“We’ve got to keep in mind, too, that North Carolina is already 46th in the nation with regard to overall teacher’s salaries. The passing of Senate Bill 361 we believe will be detrimental to attracting the best and brightest in our state,” Nash said.

Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, districts could offer contracts— up to four years— to teachers with at least three years of experience. Newer teachers would be offered annual contracts.

If a teacher’s contract was not renewed, it would be up to the school board’s discretion to hold a hearing if the teacher requested it.

“At any given point in time less than one percent of the teaching category would fall into the category of ‘serious performance concerns’ and enough to consider revoking tenures,” Nash said. “It’s important to note that the number of serious performance concerns is really much smaller than what public perception might be for most school districts.”