If you are supposed to have a term contract make sure that it doesn’t say PROBATIONARY at the top.

Karen McCarty had a probationary teaching contract with Jim Ned CISD for the 2018-19 school year, her first with the district. For her second year, the district offered her another probationary contract. It said right at the top “PROBATIONARY CONTRACT” in bold font and all caps. Ms. McCarty signed the contract and worked for the district for the 2019-20 school year. This happened again in the 2020-21 school year. For the third year in a row she was offered a probationary contract. Again she signed it and worked for the district.

 At the end of that third year, the district chose not to renew her employment and did so without giving her notice of her opportunity to request a hearing. Why would they? She was on a probationary contract and not entitled to a hearing.

Ms. McCarty filed a grievance with the district, asserting that this was all a mistake. She should have had a term contract. She had worked in public education for five of the eight years preceding her arrival at Jim Ned, and as an experienced teacher, her probationary period was limited to one year. Thus she argued that it was an error for the district to employ her under a probationary contract for a second year, and another error to keep her on probation for a third year.

Maybe so, but the teacher waited way too long to point this out. The board denied her grievance and the Commissioner affirmed that decision. The Commissioner gives us the lesson of this case in clear language:

A teacher waives the ability to complain about being given the wrong type of contract if the teacher (1) agrees to the terms of a probationary contract and (2) accepts the salary and benefits without complaint until she is given notice of a school board’s intent to terminate the contract at the end of the contract’s terms.

The teacher waived her complaint and filed her grievance way past the 15-day deadline. Let’s take a good look at that contract before inking the pact.

It’s McCarty v. Jim Ned CISD, decided by the Commissioner on March 1, 2022. It’s Docket No. 052-R10-08-2021.


Got a question or comment for the Dawg? Let me hear from you at jwalsh@wabsa.com.

Tomorrow: Another contract case