Will an arbitrator’s decision to accept a letter from a charged teacher stating she will not seek employment as a teacher in the school district be accepted so that no 3020-a hearing will be held?

Yes. While a teacher’s charges were pending she submitted an “irrevocable Letter of Resignation for the purposes of retirement” and that she “[had] no plans to, nor [would she] apply to work [for petitioner] in the future.” She added that her retirement application had been accepted by the New York State Teacher’s Retirement System and that she “will not request or otherwise act in any manner to withdraw [her] resignation.”

The arbitrator accepted the letter and submitted an award dismissing the case, finding that a hearing was not required.

The Syracuse school district sought to have the arbitrator’s award vacated. The Appellate Division, Fourth Department, confirmed the award and accepted the resignation without a disciplinary hearing.

Rationale: While there were some procedural wrinkles in this case, there is ample precedent for accepting an irrevocable letter of resignation. Clearly the school district wanted to go to hearing to allow the State to bar the teacher from ever teaching again. The Court, while specifically finding that this was not necessary, was satisfied that there are adequate safeguards against this from happening.

SYRACUSE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT, Petitioner-Appellant, and
ROCHELLE GILBERT (RAY), Respondent-Respondent.

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Fourth Department.Decided March 26, 2021

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