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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 118667
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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I wish to break my New Jersey teaching contract by resigning

Customer Question

I wish to break my New Jersey teaching contract by resigning without giving the required 60 days notice outlined in my contract. I sent in my resignation letter on July 18th. Currently school is not in session until August 29th. Could the school district claim that I ceased to perform my duties or abandoned my position, even though it is summer, and have the state go after my teaching certificate?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If they could claim this and go after my certificate, would the state have the grounds to actually suspend it?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
If you break your contract and they are left at the last minute trying to find a replacement, yes, they can try to claim abandonment. But, generally they will not go for abandonment during the summer break. You still need to get the approval of the school to break the contract because of NJ law, since it may not be abandonment, but it could be unprofessional conduct. You need to read the contract to determine when it says the term of the contract begins, because NJ law says below:
N.J.S.A. 18A:26-10 regarding suspension of a teacher's certificate for wrongfully ceasing to perform his or her duties:
Any teaching staff member employed by a board of education or an approved private school for the disabled, who shall, without the consent of the board or, in the case of an approved private school for the disabled, the board of directors of the school, cease to perform his duties before the expiration of the term of his employment, shall be deemed guilty of unprofessional conduct, and the commissioner may, upon receiving notice thereof, suspend his certificate for a period not exceeding one year.
N.J.S.A. 18A:28-8 requires a tenured teacher to give sixty days written notice of his or her intention to resign from a teaching position:
Any teaching staff member, under tenure of service, desiring to relinquish his position shall give the employing board of education at least 60 days written notice of his intention, unless the board shall approve of a release on shorter notice and if he fails to give such notice he shall be deemed guilty of unprofessional conduct and the commissioner may suspend his certificate for not more than one year.
Thus, you have to read your contract for beginning or start date and your right to terminate the contract and how much notice is required, to make sure you are not charged with the unprofessional conduct instead of abandonment.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. The school district had informed me that they would not release me from my contract until the 60 days are up unless the find a replacement for my position. My contract is effective July 1st and there is a clause to metal terminate the contract before the 60 days. Because the school district does not approve or agree with me braking the contract at this point, could this be considered unprofessional conduct? What is the likelyhood that they would be successful in suspending my certificate?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Unfortunately, you would have to abide by that 60 days, because if you leave before without board approval, it would be unprofessional conduct. While I cannot predict what the board will do in every specific case, I can only tell you that suspension is an option to them under the law and during summer break, while they may not impose a full year suspension, they could suspend you for 2-6 months for improperly breaking the contract engaging in what they would consider unprofessional conduct.