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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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Can I break a contract with my school district in Arizona if

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Can I break a contract with my school district in Arizona if I am seeking a "promotion" in a different district? I have a "Guidance Counseling Certificate" through the department of education. My job title was changed this year from "guidance counselor" to "guidance advisor" (It is apparent that this was done so they no longer have to pay us Prop 301$ and so they will no longer be required to hire people with Masters Degrees to do the job). In addition, my job description was changed to exclude Personal/Social counseling as one of my duties. A nearby district is hiring a "guidance counselor" with Personal/Social counseling responsiblities and increased pay. If I can break my contract for a promotion without losing my certificate, can I successfully argue that this new opportunity would be, in fact, a promotion?

Are you stating that your contract has a clause in it that allows you to terminate early if you are seeking a promotion in another district?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No. The contract states "if advisor resigns without advanced governing board approval, the resignation will be deemed to be an unprofessional act that may subject advisor to disciplinary action by the state board of education, up to and including suspension or revocation of the guidance counselor certification and/or any valid Arizona teaching certificate held by advisor."


No clause regarding early termination in the contract- no reference in the contract or any other district resource I can locate that addresses whether a precedent exists for using "promotion" as grounds for termination. There seems to be a precedent of Governing Board approval for teachers who leave for administrative positions, but no precedent for "advisors" seeking "counseling" positions, as the title "advisor" (and the subsequent changes in job duties) have not existed in my district until this year.

If there is nothing in the contract which provides for early termination without authorization, then I'm afraid that there is no way to terminate the contract without incurring the potential penalty.

The only way for you to go forward on taking the other job without is to obtain approval of the governing board. The Arizona state education code does not provide any help for you here either that I can see.

Are you a member of a teacher's union or other teachers association which might be able to advocate for you before the governing board to persuade them to allow you to terminate the contract early?

Also, have you contacted the other school to see if they would assist you in advocating for allowing you to terminate your contract?

As a voluntary agreement from the governing board is the only way to get you out of the contract, these are the only solutions I can think of for your situation.

Please let me know if you want to discuss this matter further or need any other information that can help you in your endeavor.

I wish you the best of luck,
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