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Chapter 4

Public School Law

Employment Relationship

William Allan Kritsonis,


PhD

Our public school district are the


largest employer in the state of Texas. As a
result it is not surprising that legal
disputes arise out of the employment of
public school employees. In chapter 4 we
will visit the laws that affect the
employment relationship at the beginning
as well as the end of the relationship.

Constitutional Issues

Due Process of Law


Assuring that decisions made by government officials
affecting peoples essential rights are made fairly.
The employee is to be deprived of property or
liberty within the meaning of the constitutional.
U.S Supreme Court ruled that teachers have a
protectable four teeth amendment property right in
continued employment.
Employee works at will unless contract says
otherwise.
If established that an employee is at will then there
is No constitutional right to due process.

Due process of law conts


If no legitimate claim of entitlement to continued
employment, there is No property right.
As a result termination of employment is not a
deprivation of property. Thus process is not due
Contractual employee has a property right in the
job during the term of the contract.
Any effort of to school district to terminate the
contract prior to its stated date of expiration is a
deprivation of property.
Some amount of process is due.

Due process of law conts


Whether the employee is a continuing
contract teacher with twenty years on the
job or a first year probationary teacher the
right to due process is the same.
TEC Section 21.204 A teacher does not
have a property interest in a contract
beyond its term.
No property interest means constitutional
due process is not required in the case of a
term contract nonrenewal.

Due process of law conts


Under Texas law educators have a
property right to protection under
the due process clause when the
school district seeks to terminate a
contract prior to its stated ending
date, but not when the school district
chooses not to renew a contract that
has run its course.

How much Process is Due


Due process is not absolute and may
vary according to the deprivation of
property in question.
Due process must precede the
taking.
Due process essential are timely
notice of why dismissal is being
sought, a fair hearing, sufficient
evidence to establish good cause for
dismissal.

How much Process is Due


conts
In a dismissal for cause action a teacher must:
a) be advised of the cause or causes of the termination
in sufficient detail to fairly enable him/her to show any
error that may exist.
b) be advised of the name and the nature of the
testimony of witnesses against her/him.
c) be given a meaningful opportunity to be heard in
his/her own defense
d) be given an opportunity for a hearing before a tribunal
that both possesses some academic expertise and has an
apparent impartiality toward the charges.
Texas now has an independent hearing system for teachers
terminations.

Types of Employment
Arrangement
At will either the employer or employee is free to
end the relationship at any time and for almost any
reason.
Non-chapter 21 school districts are to employ
each classroom teacher, principal, librarian, nurse,
or counselor under a chapter 21 contract. This is a
probationary, a term, or a continuing contract.
Probationary contract all full time professional
employees who are required to hold educator
certification. May be as long as three years.
Probationary teachers can resign without penalty up
to forty five days before the first day of instruction.

Term contracts after probationary


period, teachers will receive either
continuing or term contract. Length
of the contract and the process for
renewal, nonrenewal, or termination.
Any non probationary chapter 21
contract for a fixed term.
Resignation date will be forty five
days prior to the first day of
instruction.

Continuing contracts
a) automatically rolls over from one year to the
next.
b) must be a teacher of children.
c) no specific length of time for a continuing
contract.
d) entitled to some sort of process before the
relationship ends
e) contract with teachers must be in writing.
* Third Party Independent contract working for the
private business and be assigned the public school.

Selection of Staff
Certification and the Role of SBEC
1) regulate and oversee all aspects of the certification,
continuing education, and standards of conduct of
public school educators.
2) power to adopt rules to specify the various classes of
educator certification
3) period for which each certificate is valued
4) requirements for issuance and renewal of certificates
5) disciplinary procedures by which a certificate may be
suspended or revoked
6) power to establish training requirements for
obtaining a certificate and entering an internship

SBEC roles conts


Two restriction on this board grant of
authority
a) SBEC must appoint an advisory
committee with respect to each class
of educator certificates.
b) must be submitted to the State
Board of Edcation for review
SBEC is the key entity in the certification
business.

Three nontraditional routes to


becoming a Texas Teacher
1) alternative certification
2) School district teaching permit,
may only work in that district.
3) Anyone with a bachelors degree,
passing the subject matter exam and
pedagogy exam, will earn a two-year
teaching certificate.

Educators code of Ethics


a) Professional Ethical conduct,
practices and performance (Honesty)
b) Ethical Conduct toward
Professional Colleagues
(confidentiality toward colleagues)
c) Ethical Conduct toward students
(confidentiality toward students)

Nondiscrimination Laws
a) apply to all employees regardless of
contractual status.
b) implications for hiring process
c) sexual harassment
d) Retaliation
e)Criminal records

No Child Left Behind


All teacher hired on a high qualified
status
NCLB applies to all schools receiving
NLB funding

Restrictions on Employment
Employees may not hold two legally
incompatible office (teacher and a
trustee)
Hiring immediate family members
Requiring employees to live within
district

Hiring Process Provisions


1) School board and the superintendent
2) Campus principal and central office
Criminal Record
1) Criminal history on all educators,
noncertified employees and volunteers
2) Transportation employees will be
contracted out

Reference
Walsh, J. (2010). The Educators Guide
to Texas School Law. Seventh Edition.
Austin, Texas: University of Texas
Press.