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2003 Opinions

Page • 2003 Opinions
Date:   July 28, 2003
Prepared By:   Scott Odenbach
Phone:   (850) 245-0442
Suncom:   205-0442
Opinion No.:   03-06
Staff Contact:   none
MEMORANDUM OPINION
TO: Jon Fishbane
Roetzel & Andress
FROM: Daniel J. Woodring
General Counsel
SUBJECT: Teacher Credit Received Abroad
RE: Opinion Request Dated June 19, 2003

QUESTION PRESENTED: May teachers hired from outside the State of Florida be treated any differently than those hired from within the state?

SHORT ANSWER: No.

DISCUSSION: Recently, Florida Statutes Section 1012.33(3)(g), (formerly 231.36(3)(g)), concerning contracts with new teachers hired in Florida’s public schools, was amended and the phrase “earned in the State of Florida or outside the state” was added.

The relevant statute now reads as follows:

(g) Beginning July 1, 2001, for each employee who enters into a written contract, pursuant to this section, in a school district in which the employee was not employed as of June 30, 2001, for purposes of pay, a district school board must recognize and accept each year of full-time public school teaching service earned in the State of Florida or outside the state and for which the employee received a satisfactory performance evaluation. (Emphasis added)

Since the plain language of the statute places no limits on the term “outside the state,” the intent is clear: Florida public school districts must give credit for a new teacher’s previous experience, regardless of where it was gained, whether in another state or another country.

Although there is no statutory limitation placed on the state or country in which a teacher gained experience, the statute does state that experienced gained “out of state” must have been “full time,” in a “public school” and for which the teacher received a “satisfactory performance evaluation.”

CONCLUSION: If new teachers hired from outside the state satisfactorily meet those requirements, their previous experience should be credited.

DJW/sol


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