“Subject to assignment and reassignment.” It says that in your contract, right? It said that in Reynaldo Ramirez’s contract when he served as Athletic Director at Rio Grande City CISD. However, his contract did not employ him as A.D. That was his assignment. The contract called him a “Certified Professional Administrator.” Then, prior to the 2017-18 school year, the district reassigned Mr. Ramirez to Attendance and Adjudication Administrator.
Is that kosher? The Rio Grande City CISD board said that it was, and now Commissioner Morath has upheld that decision. The legal issue here was “same professional capacity.” Superintendents can move pieces around on the chess board so long as they keep employees in the “same professional capacity.”
The Commissioner cited earlier decisions in which the key factors were identified: authority, duties and salary. With that in mind, the Commissioner provided this analysis:
Both the Athletic Director and the Attendance and Adjudication Administrator positions are administrative positions with district-wide authority. Both positions require educator certification. Both positions involve working with campus personnel, parents, and students. Both positions involve interpreting, analyzing and applying relevant law and policy. Both positions involve directing and training staff. Both positions have similar levels of authority and appear on the third level of the organizational chart. Petitioner’s salary was the same in both positions.
Thus based on “authority, duties and salary” these two positions were close enough that they were within the “same professional capacity.” Mr. Ramirez lost his appeal.
But there are a few factors the Commissioner did not discuss: prestige, status, pizazz, visibility. In a word: fun! Mr. Ramirez’s lawyer argued this point, asking the Commissioner to “take official notice of the importance of athletic programs in Texas school districts.” The response to that bordered on snarky:
The Commissioner also notes the importance of attendance to Texas school districts.
Is that a suggestion that attending school is just as important as football?
I don’t think anyone ever grew up wanting to be “Attendance and Adjudication Administrator.” How much fun would that be? It just does not have the pizazz, status, prestige, or visibility of the A.D. job. No sex appeal. But none of that matters in the “same professional capacity” analysis.
The case of Ramirez v. Rio Grande City CISD was decided by the Commissioner on November 1, 2018. It’s Docket No. 041-R3-03-2018.
DAWG BONE: SAME PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY IS ALL ABOUT AUTHORITY, DUTIES AND SALARY.
We’ll be back next week!