Topics to be Discussed: Reassignment Compensation Disputes Teacher Appraisal Employee Benefits Wage and Hour Requirements Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Compensation Grievances and Employee Organizations
Reassignment Reassignments lead to litigations Assignment and reassignment can be handled by the superintendent The Texas Education Agency will hear complaints if the employee suffers financially Commissioner’s jurisdiction limited to “the school laws of this state” or “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”
What’s The Law?Case I: Finch v. Fort Bend I.S.D. (2003) A principal was reassigned to the maintenance department. She was told that she would be a facilitator for staff development of the nonprofessional staff. The superintendent gave her a memo stating the reason for reassignment and told her that she could file a grievance. The principal filed a grievance and a lawsuit.Who is right?
COMPENSATION DISPUTES State Pay Scale “Local Supplement” San Elizario I.S.D. set salaries on July 10. Teachers were locked into their contract as of July 1. The new salary was lower. Is this allowable? Overpayment- If a district makes an error and overpays a teacher, can the district get the money back?
TEACHER APPRAISAL Before 1981’s Term Contract Nonrenewal Act (TCNA), there was not a state law requiring teacher evaluation. TCNA required teachers under term contract to be evaluated in writing at least once a year. All other decisions about evaluation, including the instrument used to evaluate were left up to the local district.
TEACHER APPRAISAL 1984: House Bill 72 imposed the Texas Teacher Appraisal System (TTAS) Bill was an effort to adopt a uniform system of evaluating teachers in Texas. Implemented the career ladder Financial incentives to keep good teacher teaching
Texas Teacher AppraisalSystem (TTAS) Was used to differentiate the regular teacher from the star teacher Administrators thought it was too easy for teachers, didn’t reflect teachers’ capabilities Many teachers did not approve of career ladders (unfair cash incentives) 1993 legislature got rid of this system 1995 legislature made extra changes
PDAS (Professional Developmentand Appraisal System) Current system Not for all professional employees; for classroom teachers District must use or create their own If district makes their own, it must develop it through district and campus site-based decision-making committees Local system must reflect discipline management and student performance Local board must accept or reject plan en toto; cannot modify plan
PDAS Continued Includes eight domains based on indicators in the Academic Excellence Indicator System Single appraisal by single appraiser Annual, unless district decides to have less Four ratings: Exceeds expectations, Proficient, Below expectations, Unsatisfactory If a teacher receives most recent appraisal of “proficient” with no areas of deficiency, they can be appraised less (as long as appraised every five years) One failure may impact several domains Teacher can file a written rebuttal to the appraisal Teachers must only be assessed on classroom performance, not extracurricular activities
PDAS Teachers may be identified as needing assistance if they are evaluated as unsatisfactory in two or more domains. Supervisor and teacher must develop an intervention plan Teacher can be nonrenewed without the above actions taking place. Kinnaird v. Morgan I.S.D. (1999) Teacher was nonrenewed without an intervention plan. The commissioner approved this.
PDAS Documentation Timely documentation by administrators Incidents that affect teacher’s rating should be verified, documented , and shared with the teacher promptly Koehler v. LaGrange I.S.D.- supervisor failed to document and share two incidents that had adversely affected the appraisal- commissioner invalidated teacher’s appraisal Incidents should be documented and shared with the teacher within ten working days of the appraiser’s knowledge of the incident
Employment Benefits Planning and Preparation Period- State law: (each teacher)at least 450 minutes within each two week period for preparation, planning, conferences, grading. Each period must be at least 45 minutes long. The teacher may not be required to participated in any other activity (i.e. inservices- Strater v. Houston I.S.D., 1986) Duty-Free Lunch-30 minute period free from duties unless dire situations (shortage of staff, extreme economic conditions, unavoidable and/or unforseen circumstances). A teacher may not be required to supervise students during the duty- free lunch more than one time per week.
Personal Leave Old plan done away with in 1995 State allows 5 days personal leave a year No limit on accumulation Moves with employee Can be used for any reason Old plan-you could only use sick days when you were actually sick. Personal leave is different. Sick leave is still under the old plan
Castleberry ISD No more than two personal leave days consecutively No personal leave if other employee in the same category is on leave No personal leave on the day before a holiday This was approved by the court of appeals. It didn’t limit days, just limited timing.
Personal Leave Can be rewarded-$1,000 stipend with certain conditions (Brady I.S.D.) Brady I.S.D. conditions: No more than five days personal/sick leave in a school year Teacher missed eight days and filed a grievance District won
Health Insurance/Assault Leave Health insurance: employees can take necessary days to recuperate from all injuries. Employees can have paid leave up to two years. Leave may not be deducted from sick leave. Employee placed on assault leave immediately upon request. District will investigate and may change the assault leave charge. It will affect personal days, then employee pay.
Teacher Retirement: each teacher must participate. School districts can establish annuity programs, and various insurance programs out of local funds. Temporary Disability Leave: Teacher cannot be terminated. Pregnancy listed specifically. Can only be taken during the period the doctor specifies. This is unpaid leave. Upon returning to work, the employee should have a job. This employee must be placed on their campus, unless another principal voluntarily accepts them.* Nelson v. Weatherwax: Employee went on temporary disability leave on same day that she received notice of intent to terminate. On her leave, the board went on with proceedings. The termination date was the day her leave ended. The court of appeals concluded that this process did not violate the Education Code.
Family Medical Leave Act/ Misc. Leave Policies 12 weeks unpaid leave per year to care for: newborn, adopted, or foster children; a spouse, child or parent with serious health condition; when a serious health condition prevents performance. (only 12 weeks: can’t put family medical leave and temporary medical leave together.) Employees must receive their job and equivalent pay upon returning. Local leave policies developed by districts.Teachers may not be given paid leave to attend a meeting of a teacher’s professional organization. Other types of leave: Military and Developmental Military: up to 15 days granted per year Developmental: Certified teachers in district for 5 years or greater to study, research. One school year at one-half salary or one-half school year at full salary.
Wage and Hour Requirements 1985- U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the minimum-wage and maximum-hour provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) apply to local government functions. Requires good documentation to show that employees have not worked overtime without proper compensation FLSA provisions apply to people in two groups:Non-Exempt Exempt-not exempt from FLSA -not covered by FLSArules/regulations -not entitled to extra work in excess-entitled to overtime pay or “comp of the forty-hour weektime”-secretaries, maintenance workers, - 3 categories: Executive,bus drivers, custodians, teacher Administrative, Professionaides
Worker’s UnemploymentCompensation Compensation Statue prohibits an Helps those who are employer from unemployed through no retaliating against an fault of their own employee who has filed Misconduct or quitting No legal obligation to hold jobs or create new voluntarily does not ones for employees. merit unemployment The only exception is pay disabled employees under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Grievances Covered under the Texas Constitution since 1845 1984- Attorney General Jim Mattox broadened “conditions of work” in grievances Malone v. Houston I.S.D.- District refused grievance of reassignment. This was ruled as a serious error. Grievances can occur over virtually anything. They must be filed in a timely fashion. Hearing involves”Stop, look, listen” and “consider”
The Role of EmployeeOrganizations Weaker than most around the country Those that are stronger have had strong labor unions for a long period of time In Texas: “Right to work” regardless of membership or non-membership in professional organizations Ban on collective bargaining in the public sector Prohibits right to strike or organized work stoppages You can only file grievances through organizations that do not claim the right to strike
ResourcesThe Educator’s Guide to Texas School Law, 6 th Edition by Kemerre, Walsh & Maniotis, 2005, University of Texas Press, Austin.