Tenure Law for Teachers in Missouri


A teacher is tenured in Missouri after working full-time in the same school district for five consecutive years. A tenure status comes into effect at the beginning of the sixth year. The school district has no authority to intervene once the teacher has fulfilled the conditions of being tenured. A tenure constitutes an indefinite contract. It means you have fulfilled probationary requirements, and your teaching job is now permanent.

When Tenure Begins

  • You acquire a tenured status in Missouri on the first day of your sixth successive year in the same district. One year of the probationary teaching requirement can be waived if you have worked in another school system for at least two years. In this case, you could become tenured at the beginning of your fifth successive year, instead of the sixth. A part-time teacher can become tenured on a prorated basis. It means a permanent status can be granted even in the middle of the year once you have fulfilled the requirements.

Tenure, Re-Employment and Promotion

  • A permanent teacher who comes back after having left the district must work for one year to regain tenure. So, instead of five years, you are only required to go through a probationary period of one year to regain tenure. Supervisory positions are not tenured in Missouri. When promoted to become a principal, or assistant principal, for instance, you cannot become permanent in either position. But the law allows you to retain tenure in your previous position. A tenured teacher signs an indefinite contract.

Probationary Job Termination

  • During the probationary period, a teacher has to sign an annual contract until the job becomes permanent after five years. If the school district decides not to renew the contract at the end of the school year, notice must be provided to the teacher in advance.

Tenured Teacher Grounds of Termination

  • The school district can terminate an indefinite contract of a tenured teacher under certain circumstances. The Missouri Tenure Act states that a tenured contract can be terminated if a teacher is involved in an immoral conduct, convicted of a felony or unreasonably absent from duties. Other reasons for termination include a teacher becoming unfit mentally or physically unfit to teach or associate with children, incompetence or insubordination. But a proper procedure must be followed, including subjecting the teacher to a board hearing. In insubordination, inefficiency and incompetence, the teacher must be given 30 days before being given notice of charges and termination proceedings.

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