Personnel Issues - Presented by William Allan Kritsonis, PhD
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DESCRIPTIONPersonnel Issues - Presented by William Allan Kritsonis, PhD The Region 6 Texas National Association for Multicultural Education honors Dr. William Allan Kritsonis as a Professor, Scholar, and Pioneer Publisher for Distinguished Service to Multicultural Research Publishing. The ceremony was on the campus at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
- 1. A principal was reassigned to the maintenance department. Shewas told that she would be a facilitator for staff development of thenonprofessional staff. The superintendent gave her a memostating the reason for reassignment and told her that she could filea grievance. The principal filed a grievance and a lawsuit.Who is right?
2. I.FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS: Several teachers of the Wilmer-Hutchins Independent School District filed thisclass action to restrain the district from deducting from their monthly pay, and fromthe pay of other teachers, amounts claimed by the district as overpayments forprevious years. A temporary injunction was denied, and the teachers perfected this appeal. Wegranted temporary relief pending the appeal, and we now reverse the trial courtsorder and grant the temporary injunction sought. The facts are undisputed except in one particular, which we find to be immaterial.After the close of the 1981-82 academic year, the district determined that it hadused an erroneous method of computing the sick leave allowed to its teachers.From its records, the accuracy of which is disputed, the district determined theamount of overpayments and sent notices to the affected teachers inviting them toattend a "workshop" at a specified time and place in order to examine the recordsand present any records of their own. 3. II. Reasons for the Reassignment:1. Failure to maintain an effective working relationship with FBISDadministrators/colleagues.2.Failure to cooperate with and to timely prepare documents needed in connection with a special education matter.3. Failure to follow established policies and procedures.4. Insubordination.5.In addition, the notice informed Finch she could present any concerns she had regarding the reassignment through the FBISD grievanceprocess. Finchs salary remained unchanged. 4. III. Actions Taken By Both Parties:A. Finch filed a grievance. In April, Hooper conducted a Level III grievance hearing,with Finch represented by counsel. Following an adverse result, Finch appealedthe Level III grievance hearing to the FBISD board of trustees. The board held anevidentiary hearing, referred to as a Level IV grievance hearing, in May, with bothsides represented by counsel. The board ultimately took no action on Finchsgrievance, which effectively upheld the Level III decision. Finch resigned fromFBISD in July. 5. III. Actions Taken By Both Parties:B. Finch sued the Superintendents and FBISD in federal court, bringing:(1) A procedural due process claim alleging that Finch was entitled to, but did not receive, a pre-termination hearing.(2) A substantive due process claim. (3) First Amendment claims based on Finchs speech regarding the School Within a School proposal and her associations with members of the school board.(4) claims under the Texas Constitution that track her First Amendment claims.(5) A state law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.(6) A state law claim for breach of contract. 6. III. Actions Taken By Both Parties:C. The Superintendents moved for summary judgment predicated on qualified immunity. The district court denied the motion, finding Finch was given virtually no prior notice of the reassignment and finding a genuine issue of fact over whether Finchs reassignment was a demotion. The Superintendents appealed. 7. IV. Conclusion: For the reasons stated, we REVERSE IN PART the order of the district courtdenying summary judgment and hold that the Superintendents are entitled toqualified immunity from Finchs constitutional claims. We DISMISS the appeal asit relates to the issue of professional immunity from the intentional infliction ofemotional distress claim. Finchs motion to file a sur-reply is GRANTED; the Superintendents motion todismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction is DENIED. 8. The court held that the dispute over the previous yearsoverpayments was unrelated to and could not generate deductionsfrom teacher paychecks. The current salaries were amounts lawfullydue, reasoned the court, and were not subject to the proposedunilateral deductions by the district. 9. I. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS: Several teachers of the Wilmer-Hutchins Independent School District filed thisclass action to restrain the district from deducting from their monthly pay, and fromthe pay of other teachers, amounts claimed by the district as overpayments forprevious years. A temporary injunction was denied, and the teachers perfected this appeal. Wegranted temporary relief pending the appeal, and we now reverse the trial courtsorder and grant the temporary injunction sought. The facts are undisputed except in one particular, which we find to be immaterial.After the close of the 1981-82 academic year, the district determined that it hadused an erroneous method of computing the sick leave allowed to its teachers.From its records, the accuracy of which is disputed, the district determined theamount of overpayments and sent notices to the affected teachers inviting them toattend a "workshop" at a specified time and place in order to examine the recordsand present any records of their own. 10. III. Actions Taken By Both Parties: Only two teachers appeared, one of whom obtained a satisfactory adjustment. Thedistrict then announced its intention to make the deduction from the teacherspaychecks during the remainder of the 1982-1983 academic year. This suit ensuedon behalf of all teachers affected by the deductions. The judge issued a temporaryrestraining order, which was continued from time to time, but after a hearing hedenied the temporary injunction. The district contends that the trial courts order should be affirmed because theteachers failed to show that they will suffer irreparable harm for which they have noadequate remedy at law. It suggests that the teachers would be adequatelyprotected and the propriety of the deductions and accuracy of the records could bebetter determined in a suit against the district for the salaries withheld. We conclude that the remedy suggested is not adequate. Since currentwages are presumably necessary for subsistence, the process of litigatinga claim for debt to final judgment cannot be considered sufficiently promptfor adequate redress 11. III. Actions Taken By Both Parties: The district also contends that the injunction was properly denied because theteachers failed to exhaust their administrative remedies with school authorities atthe local or state level. Thus, it argues that failure of the teachers to appear at the"workshop" to examine the districts records. The district contends that since it has a duty to recover public funds paid out undera mistake of fact, it may resort to self-help by deducting the overpayments fromcurrent salaries due. By such action the district is treating current salaries as already paid to the extentof the previous overpayments, contrary to the common-law rule that mutual debtsdo not extinguish each other in the absence of agreement or judicial action senttheir own bars them from the relief sought. 12. III. Conclusion: The order of the trial court is reversed and judgment is rendered that atemporary injunction be issued, pending final disposition of this suit,restraining the district from withholding from current salaries to itsteachers any amounts claimed as overpayment of salaries for theacademic year 1981-82 and prior years. The ancillary temporary injunctiongranted by this court is continued in force until the issuance of the courtsmandate or the filing of an application for writ of error. 13. I.Facts and Proceedings:A. A teacher admitted that for two months she had not been teaching phonics for two months, required by the district.B. Teacher rated below expectations, in four domains.C. Her appeal to TEA- She argued since the law requires each domain to be ratedindependently, it was improper for the principal to rely on a single factor to reduce herrating in four domains.II. Conclusion:A. The commissioner did not agree with this line of reasoning.B. PDAS requires that a teacher to be identified as a Teacher in need of assistance. Ifthe teacher is evaluated as unsatisfactory in one or more domains.C. If not designated, the supervisor and teacher must develop an intervention plan.D. Teacher can be non-renewed without all this taking place. 14. I.Facts and Proceedings:A. The commissioner concluded that a librarian is not a classroomteacher.B. Not entitled to PDAS process.II. Conclusion:If the district chooses to evaluate the librarians in some other manner, it may doso. 15. I.Facts and Proceedings:A. 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.B. There was a written contract.C. Mans salary remained the same after reassignment. He claimed his loss ofstatus would make it hard for him to find a job coaching in the future.II. Conclusion:A. Court disagreedB. Allegations of speculative future loss are not enough to give the commissioner jurisdiction over such a case. 16. I.Facts and Proceedings:A. The S.E. school board set salaries July 10.B. Teachers were locked in their contracts July 1.C. New salaries schedule lowered their salaries of some teachers.II. Conclusion:District was obligated to compensate the teachers pursuant to the previousyears salary schedule.