Restrictions In Public School Districts

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Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, School Law, Employment Relationships, Termination, School District Restrictions, Law for Teachers, Due Process, Discrimination of Employment.

In 2005, Dr. Kritsonis was an Invited Visiting Lecturer at the Oxford Round Table at Oriel College in the University of Oxford, Oxford, England. His lecture was entitled the Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning.

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Restrictions In Public School Districts

  1. 1. Nepotism: Restrictions in Public School Districts William Allan Kritsonis, PhD .
  2. 2. What is Nepotism? “ the favoring of relatives or personal friends because of their relationship rather than because of their abilities (Wiktionary, 2008).” “ nepotism is the showing of favoritism to relatives, based upon that relationship, rather than on an objective evaluation of ability or suitability” (Wikipedia,2008).
  3. 3. <ul><li>The nepotism laws in Texas are located in Chapter 573 of the Government Code. </li></ul><ul><li>These laws prohibit a public official from voting to appoint or to confirm the appointment of an individual who is related to the public official by blood or marriage within a prohibited degree . </li></ul>Nepotism Statutes in Texas
  4. 4. <ul><li>School board members are primarily restricted under the statutes because they maintain final authority to hire/fire teachers, & approve other contractual relationships. </li></ul><ul><li>These statutes have been created to prevent family relationships from improperly influencing public employment relationships and decision making. </li></ul>Nepotism Prohibitions in Public School Districts in Texas
  5. 5. <ul><li>These laws do not apply to school principals and under some cases the superintendent because the authority to hire and fire employees is vested in the board of trustees. </li></ul><ul><li>Principals are not considered public officers for purposes of the nepotism statutes. </li></ul>Principals and Superintendents
  6. 6. Superintendent Prohibitions <ul><li>The Education Code currently stipulates that the board can allocate final authority to the superintendent (Walsh et al., 2005). </li></ul><ul><li>If the superintendent has final authority to hire teachers, then the states nepotism laws do apply to the superintendent’s relatives. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Nepotism: Employees <ul><li>The Texas nepotism laws are relevant to positions compensated directly or indirectly with public funds, regardless of the source of those funds. </li></ul><ul><li>The nepotism laws are also relevant to those employees paid with funds from a federal grant. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Nepotism Laws: Employee Status and Contractors <ul><li>The nepotism prohibitions equally relates to full-time employees, part-time employees, and temporary employees. </li></ul><ul><li>The nepotism prohibitions also apply to the hiring of independent contractors ( Walsh) et al., 2005). </li></ul>
  9. 9. Board Members: Resignation to Allow Employment <ul><li>A school board member cannot circumvent the nepotism laws by abstaining and permitting the remaining trustees to employ his or her relative. </li></ul><ul><li>A board member can resign so that a relative may be hired. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Resignation to Avoid Nepotism <ul><li>In order to avoid state nepotism laws, the board member must first resign. </li></ul><ul><li>The board members vacant seat must be replaced by appointment or special election. </li></ul><ul><li>Once the seat is filled, the new board member must take the oath of office and then the previous board member’s relative may be hired (Walsh et al., 2005). </li></ul>
  11. 11. Nepotism Exceptions <ul><li>The most frequently used exception in accordance with nepotism statutes is the continuous employment exception. </li></ul><ul><li>Under this exception, the nepotism prohibition does not pertain to a district employee who is employed in the position immediately prior to the election or appointment of the board member to whom the person is related in a prohibited degree and that previous employment is continuous for at least six months before the board member’s election or 30 days before the board member’s appointment . </li></ul>
  12. 12. Consequences for Violating Nepotism Statutes <ul><li>If a public official deliberately or consciously violates the nepotism prohibition, the public official may be convicted of a misdemeanor that conveys a possible fine of not less than $100 or more than $1,000. </li></ul><ul><li>A court convicting a public official of this offense has to order the official’s immediate removal from public office. </li></ul><ul><li>When absent a criminal conviction, a public official who defies the nepotism laws may be removed from public office in the method set by law (Walsh et al., 2005). </li></ul>
  13. 13. Ethical Commitment <ul><li>The school board members and district administrators must have an ethical commitment to work for the benefit of all students. </li></ul><ul><li>A school board member must take ethical decisions and behavior seriously. </li></ul><ul><li>School board members set a public example for all students when exemplifying ethical choices. </li></ul><ul><li>School board members must remove all personal issues from their agendas in order to address student needs. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Public Trust <ul><li>A district should examine any possible perception of nepotism even when the appointment does not violate nepotism statutes or district guidelines . </li></ul><ul><li>All employee contracts, vendor contracts, and administrative promotions should be continuously scrutinized to maintain public trust. </li></ul><ul><li>District policy and active oversight should go beyond state statutes in the best effort to maintain public trust. </li></ul>

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