A. Upon a timely request for a hearing pursuant to § 22.1-309, the school board or, at the option of the school board, a hearing officer appointed by the school board shall set a hearing within 15 days of the request and the teacher shall be given at least five days’ written notice of the time and the place. The hearing shall be private unless the teacher requests the hearing to be public. At the hearing the teacher may appear with or without a representative and be heard, presenting testimony of witnesses and other evidence. The school board may hear a recommendation for dismissal and make a determination whether to make a recommendation to the Board of Education regarding the teacher’s license at the same hearing or hold a separate hearing for each action.
B. Each school board may appoint an impartial hearing officer from outside the school division to conduct hearings pursuant to this section. A hearing officer shall not have been involved in the recommendation of dismissal as a witness or a representative. A hearing officer shall possess some knowledge and expertise in public education and education law and be capable of presiding over an administrative hearing. The hearing officer shall schedule and preside over such hearings and shall create a record or recording of such proceedings. The hearing officer shall make a written recommendation to the school board, a copy of which shall be provided to the teacher. The hearing officer shall transmit the recommendation and the record or recording of the hearing to the school board as soon as practicable and no more than 10 business days after the hearing. In the event of a hearing before a hearing officer, the school board may make its decision upon the record or recording of such hearing, pursuant to § 22.1-313, or the school board may elect to conduct a further hearing to receive additional evidence by giving written notice of the time and place to the teacher and the division superintendent within 10 business days after the board receives the record or recording of the initial hearing. Such notice shall also specify each matter to be inquired into by the school board.
C. A record or recording of any hearing conducted pursuant to this section shall be made. The parties shall share the cost of the recording equally. In proceedings concerning grievances not related to dismissal, the recording may be dispensed with entirely by mutual consent of the parties. In such proceedings, if the recording is not dispensed with, the two parties shall share the cost of the recording equally; if either party requests a transcript, that party shall bear the expense of its preparation. In cases of dismissal, the record or recording shall be preserved for a period of six months. If the school board requests that a transcript be made at any time prior to expiration of the six-month period, it shall be made and copies shall be furnished to both parties. The school board shall bear the cost of the transcription.
D. Witnesses who are employees of the school board shall be granted release time if the hearing is held during the school day. The hearing shall be held at the school in which most witnesses work, if feasible.
Code 1950, § 22-217.7; 1968, c. 691; 1976, c. 282; 1980, c. 559; 2004, c. 1007; 2013, cc. 588, 650.