Administrative Hearings And Florida Public School Employment

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Educat.D.)


Educational Leadership


Purpose of the Study. The purposes of this study were to describe the procedural due process rights afforded to Florida public school employees under the Administrative Procedure Act, and to analyze the degree to which state hearing officers' recommended orders were adopted by agencies.Procedure. Historic-legal research was conducted involving an analysis of the Administrative Procedure Act, Florida Statute, Chapter 120. All relevant administrative cases involving public school employee suspension and/or dismissal, as reported in the Florida Department of Administrative Hearing Reports and the Florida Administrative Law Reports from 1975 to 1982, were analyzed. Significant case law and statutes related to this topic were analyzed and interpreted.Significant Findings. (1) In a study of ninety-five administrative cases, approximately twice as many suspension and/or dismissal cases were appealed on certification than on contract issues. (2) In seventy-five of the cases, the agency adopted the recommendation of the hearing officer. (3) The agency adopted the hearing officer's recommended order in all contract cases. (4) The cases were organized under the seven dismissal standards in the following proportion: immorality - thirty-five per cent; misconduct in office - thirty-three per cent; conviction of any crime involving moral turpitude - twelve per cent; miscellaneous - seven per cent; willful neglect of duty - six percent; incompetency - four percent; gross insubordination - three percent; and drunkenness - zero percent.Summary of Conclusions. (1) Case law has shown that adherence to due process in personnel administration is as important in administrative review as in court cases. (2) Cases cited emphasized the importance to the courts of the issues of continuance of employee effectiveness, the exemplar concept, intent, and pattern. (3) Sources of publicity and the established morals of the represented community were shown to add complexity to an administrative hearing. (4) Case law clearly indicated that probationary public school employees are usually not afforded a hearing upon nonrenewal of contract, unless an expectation of reemployment can be established or a Constitutional right has been violated.Recommendations. Revisions of the APA and hearing officers' authority were recommended.


Education, Administration

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