TITLE 17. EDUCATION
CHAPTER 1. GENERAL SCHOOL LAW
PART I. ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION
SUBPART A. STATE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION
17:10.4 Distinguished Educators Program
A. (1) As part of the school and district accountability program established pursuant to R.S. 17:10.1 et seq., the state Department of Education, hereafter in this Section referred to as "the department", shall develop and establish, subject to the approval of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, a program that provides for the identification and limited term assignment of persons who are qualified by both education and experience to work effectively to improve low performing schools as distinguished educators. Distinguished educators shall provide for the technical assistance in schools determined to be in need of corrective action or otherwise in need of technical assistance pursuant to the school and district accountability program.
(2) In addition to the other requirements of this Section, the program shall include the following provisions:
(a) In any year, when selecting an active employee of a city, parish, or other local public school board as a distinguished educator, such selection shall be made no later than June first unless otherwise agreed to by the school board. A school board shall be notified in writing of such selection no later than seven days after the selection is made.
(b) In any year in which selections for distinguished educators are made as provided in Subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph, no more than ten percent of the total number of persons selected as distinguished educators shall be from among the active employees of any one city, parish, or other local public school board unless otherwise agreed to by the school board. The limitation established by this Subparagraph shall not apply to persons serving as distinguished educators on the effective date of this Paragraph.
B. In providing for the recruitment, identification, and selection of distinguished educators, the department shall establish a rigorous process designed to ensure that the best and most qualified candidates available are included in the pool from which distinguished educators are selected. In the selection of any distinguished educators beyond those hired for the 1999-2000 school year pilot program, the department shall allow individuals with academic credentials or work experience in fields other than education to apply for the distinguished educator position.
C. Any person identified and selected as a distinguished educator shall be hired within a project position in the department for the term of his service as a distinguished educator. The terms, conditions, benefits, compensation, and all other employment issues regarding such person shall be determined by the department.
D. (1) Any person identified and selected as a distinguished educator who is an active employee of a public post-secondary institution subject to the jurisdiction of the Board of Regents, or is an active employee of any city, parish or other local public school system shall be granted a leave of absence from such employment for not less than two years nor more than six years as required by the department. Such leave of absence shall not be considered a sabbatical leave as defined in R.S. 17:46, R.S. 17:1170 through 1187, and R.S. 17:3321 through 3328, and therefore, such distinguished educators are not eligible for any sabbatical leave compensation from the city, parish or other local public school system or public post-secondary institution during the term of this leave of absence.
(2) The employee shall be ensured that at the end of his term of service as a distinguished educator he will be returned to a position comparable to the one he had at the beginning of his leave, whether or not a reduction in force is required to comply with this requirement, including a reduction in force in accordance with the provisions of R.S. 17:81.4.
(3) Upon return to service with his employer the term of service as a distinguished educator of the employee shall count as service time for purposes of scheduled, routine, or general compensation enhancements, retirement eligibility, retirement benefit calculation, and seniority.
(4) The term of service of the employee as a distinguished educator shall not count as service time for purposes of eligibility for any sabbatical benefits, for the acquisition of tenure, or for the accumulation of leave.
(5) The department shall provide for all aspects of working conditions during a distinguished educator's term of service, including leave acquisition and its use, time keeping, travel and the expenses incident thereto.
E. The state Department of Education shall:
(1) Provide training to the distinguished educators.
(2) Make assignments.
(3) Monitor the impact of the program and evaluate the usefulness of the program against the goals for school improvement.
(4) Enter into a memorandum of understanding with each school board governing a school where a distinguished educator is placed which shall specify the school system's responsibility with respect to the working conditions of the distinguished educator, including the provision of a work space, supplies, and telephones as well as the authorities of the distinguished educator, including access to records, personnel, and communication processes.
Added by Acts 1999, No. 409, § 1, eff. June 18, 1999. Amended by Acts 2003, No. 300, § 1, eff. June 13, 2003; Acts 2004, No. 204, § 1.