West Ottawa Schools proceeds with tenure hearing

HOLLAND, Mich. - West Ottawa Public Schools is proceeding with its first tenure hearing in hopes of firing a teacher, according to The Grand Rapids Press.

The district claims Karl Nadolsky, 58, gave students answers to a biology test to mask his poor performance. Nadolsky denies this and argues his actions were based on legitimate pedagogical theory. The board of education voted to remove him in January, and he has appealed the case to a state tenure judge, The Press reported.

"We don't want him back in the classroom," school board President Randy Schippers, a Holland lawyer, told The Press.

"Now, we have to follow the process the state devised to try to make that happen."

Tenure hearings are rare because many districts decide to settle for a buyout, which usually costs less. There are about 50 tenure cases each year and they take an average of more than 10 months to resolve. The hearings are similar to an actual trial, with lawyers and witnesses presenting evidence. In this case, the district was not willing to settle on a buyout. Nadolsky could have retired with full benefits, according to The Press.

Nadolsky was paid his full salary, $69,712, plus $16,198 worth of benefits, while awaiting a hearing, The Press reported. The district has also spent $17,915 in legal fees and $23,577 for a long-term substitute.

The Grand Rapids Press, "West Ottawa Public Schools holds its first teacher tenure hearing," June 24, 2008

Michigan Education Report, "Tenure law is impediment to reform," May 12, 2000