Dear Dawg: I got fired from a charter school. Do I have to appeal this to T.E.A.?

Dear Dawg: I just got fired from a charter school and my buddy, the so-called legal expert, says that I have to appeal this decision to the Texas Education Agency.  I guess my buddy should know about these things.  He’s been canned by five different districts.  He said his lawyer has tried to get his case straight into the courthouse, but he keeps getting tossed out and sent back to the Puzzle Palace on Congress Avenue.  He said this had something to do with “exhaust.” I don’t understand that.  What does an escaping gas have to do with my legal rights? My buddy was not real clear—he just knows that he keeps getting tossed back into the bureaucracy.  But I work for a charter, Dawg. Are things different for me?  DON’T WANT ANY EXHAUST IN MY FACE.

DEAR DON’T WANT:  Things are different for you.  This was recently confirmed by the Texas Court of Appeals in Tyler.  The case involved a man who was fired from his job as superintendent of a charter school.  He sued the charter in state court. The charter filed a “Plea to the Jurisdiction” on the theory that the court had no jurisdiction. The argument was that the ex-supe had to take his case to T.E.A. and that until he did this, the court had no jurisdiction of the matter.  This is called “exhaustion of administrative remedies.” Be sure to pass that along to your buddy—it’s “exhaustion” not “exhaust.”

Anyway, the charter school lost that argument. The court held that appeals to T.E.A. are done pursuant to Section 7.057 of the Education Code. The court held that this section of the Code “does not apply to open-enrollment charter schools.”   What that means in practice is that the ex-superintendent could not appeal his termination to T.E.A. Therefore, he certainly did not have to go through a process that would have been futile.  His case continues.

So you go ahead. Fire up that lawsuit and let us know how it works.  This case is Azleway Charter School v. Hogue, decided by the Court of Appeals in Tyler on May 4, 2016.


File this one under: CHARTERS