personnel issues, due process - dr. william allan kritsonis

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Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, School Law, Educational Laws and Policies, Educational School Law, Personnel Legal Issues


  • 1. William Allan Kritsonis, PhD
  • 2. Overview
    • Chapter V deals with personnel issues that arise during employment relationships. These disputes include :
    • I. Reassignments ,Compensation, & Texas Teacher Appraisal History
    • II. Teacher Appraisal
    • III. Employment Benefits
    • IV. Wage/Hour Requirements, Workers/Unemployment Compensation, &
    • Employee Grievances & Organizations
  • 3. Reassignment: J.Hughes
    • Most Texas teacher and administrator contracts contain a clause which states that the employee may be assigned and reassigned at the discretion of the superintendent.
    • Complaints concerning an illegal reassignment likely will not receive a hearing at the Texas Education Agency, unless the employee has suffered financially.
    • TEC 7.057 (a)(2) states, The commissioners jurisdiction is limited to cases involving parties aggrieved by the school laws of this state or a provision of a written employment contract between the school district and a school district employee if a violation causes or would cause monetary harm to the employee.
  • 4. Reassignment: Cont.
    • Smith v. Nelson (2001): The court held that the commissioner did not have the jurisdiction to hear the appeal of a man who was reassigned from head coach/athletic director to P.E. teacher. There was a written contract involved, but the mans salary remained the same after the reassignment. He tried to claim that his loss of status would make it harder for him to find good coaching jobs in the future. The court disagreed! Allegations of speculative future losses are not enough to give the commissioner jurisdiction over such a case.
  • 5. Compensation Disputes:J.Hughes
    • Educators should be aware of the penalty-free resignation date which varies form district to district and year to year. This is important if an educator contemplates relocating. The educator will not be locked into a contract at a school they no longer desire to teach at if they execute decisions prior to this date. The date is calculated to be no later than the forty-fifth day before the first day of instruction of the following school year.
    • San Elizario Educators Association v. San Elizario I.S.D.: The San Elizario school board set salaries on July,10 th . However, the teachers were locked into their contracts as of July 1 st . When the new salary schedule actually lowered the salaries of some teachers, they took matters to the commissioner. The commissioner ruled the district was obligated to compensate the teachers pursuant to the previous years salary schedule.
  • 6. Compensation Disputes: Cont.
    • Can the district get money back from an employee if they were overpaid?
    • School district tries to recoup sick leave overpayments made the previous year.
    • (Benton v. Wilmer-Hutchins I.S.D.,1983)
    • The court held that the dispute over the previous years overpayments was unrelated to and could not generate deductions from teacher paychecks. The current salaries were amounts lawfully due, reasoned the court, and were not subject to the proposed unilateral deductions by the district.
  • 7. Texas Teacher Appraisal History: J. Hughes
    • Prior to the passage of the Term Contract Nonrenewal Act (TCNA) in 1981 there was no state law requiring any kind of teacher evaluation in Texas.
    • The TCNA required that all contract teachers be evaluated in writing at least once a year. All other decisions about evaluation, including what instrument to use, were left to the local districts.
    • House Bill 72 in 1984 imposed the Texas Teacher Appraisal System (TTAS) which tried to adopt a uniform system of teacher evaluation in Texas.
    • TTAS was intended to be an instrument that measured the difference between the average classroom teacher and the instructional star.
    • Despite huge state investments in the development of TTAS, in 1993 the legislature dismantled the program and made significant changes to the appraisal system.
  • 8. Teacher Appraisal: A. Morrison
    • The current appraisal system is known as PDAS (Professional Development and Appraisal System) and is based on observable, job-related behaviors. It involves a single appraisal by a single appraiser, assessing performance in eight domains which include:
    • Domain I : Active, successful student participation in the learning process
    • Domain II : Learner-centered instruction
    • Domain III : Student Progress: Evaluation and Feedback
    • Domain IV : Management of discipline, instruction, time, and materials
    • Domain V : Communication
    • Domain VI : Professional Development
    • Domain VII : Compliance with policies
    • Domain VIII : Academic improvements in student performance
  • 9. Teacher Appraisal: PDAS (Cont.)
    • Although there are eight Domains on the PDAS, a single failure by the teacher may impact several.
    • Miller v. Clyde I.S.D.,2003 : In Clyde I.S.D. a teacher admitted that for two months she had not been teaching phonics as required by the district. Based on this information, the principal rated the teacher below expectations in four domains. In her appeal to TEA, the teacher argued that since the law requires each domain to be rated independently it was improper for the principal to rely on a single factor to reduce her rating in four domains. The commissioner did not agree with this line of reasoning.
    • Rules adopted pursuant to PDAS require that a teacher be identified as a teacher in need of assistance if the teacher is evaluated as unsatisfactory in one or more domains.
    • If the teacher is so designated, the supervisor and teacher must develop an intervention plan.
    • However, the teacher can be nonrenewed without all this taking place
    • Kinnaird v. Morgan I.S.D., 1999 : In this case, the commissioner approved the non-renewal of a teacher despite the fact that he was not first given an intervention plan.
  • 10. Teacher Appraisal: PDAS (Cont.)
    • PDAS is an annual affair, unless the district decides to appraise some teachers less frequently and the teacher agrees.
    • If a teachers appraisal reflects a rating of at least proficient with no areas of deficiency, the teacher can be appraised less than once a year, provided that it is done at least every five years. The district must have a written agreement with any such teacher.
    • Schools now are specifically authorized to send copies of a teachers evaluation (along with any rebuttals) to a district in which the teacher has applied for employment.
    • Teacher appraisals are not accessible to the public.
    • TEC 21.355 : A document evaluating the performance of a teacher or administrator is confidential.
  • 11. Teacher Appraisal: PDAS (Cont.)
    • The confidentiality of a teacher evaluation goes beyond the general public.
    • Atty. Gen. Op. GA-0055, 2003: The attorney general issued an opinion in 2003 stating that the SBEC (State Board for Educator Certification), the governmental entity with authority over teacher certification, has no right of access to teacher evaluations.
    • The Texas Administrative Code specifies that the PDAS is for classroom teachers only.
    • Fenter v. Quinlan I.S.D. (2002): The commissioner concluded that a librarian is not a classroom teacher and is not entitled to the PDAS process. If the district chooses to evaluate librarians in some other manner, it may do so.
  • 12. Teacher Appraisal: PDAS (Cont.)
    • How are administrators evaluated?
    • For those administrators whose employment requires educator certification, state law requires a process quite similar to PDAS.
    • The local district is to use either its own locally developed system or the commissioners recommended system.
    • The law specifically prohibits the use of school funds to pay any administrator who has not been appraised within the preceding fifteen months.
    • Principal Appraisals