Teacher’s appeal of nonrenewal fails…for a surprising reason

Consider this sequence of events:

April 13, 2021: the board votes to give Mr. Marshall notice of proposed nonrenewal of his teaching contract.

April 14, 2021: the district delivers the notice to Mr. Marshall. Teachers have 15 days in which to request a hearing to challenge the proposed nonrenewal.

April 18, 2021: Mr. Marshall requests a hearing.  The law requires that this hearing be held within fifteen days of the request, which would be May 3rd.  The district wants to extend the deadline, which can happen when the parties agree to it. But Mr. Marshall does not agree. 

May 3, 2021: the deadline for the hearing comes and goes, with no hearing.

May 11, 2021: the board votes to rescind its April 13th action, but at the same meeting, again votes to give Mr. Marshall notice of proposed nonrenewal. 

May 18, 2021: The district delivers the second notice to Mr. Marshall.  Mr. Marshall does not request a hearing, thinking he doesn’t need to.

June 8, 2021: the board votes to nonrenew Mr. Marshall’s contract.   There was no hearing because Mr. Marshall did not request a hearing within 15 days of the second notice. 

Waddyathink, Loyal Daily Dawg Readers?  Is that kosher?  According to Commissioner Morath, it is.  The Commish held that there was nothing wrong with how the district handled this situation. Mr. Marshall goofed by not making a timely request for a hearing after the second notice arrived. Key Quotes:

[Mr. Marshall] cites no school law that prohibits [the district] from rescinding a nonrenewal notice and issuing a second notice, even one that contains the same nonrenewal bases. 

While atypical, a school board might rescind and reissue a notice of proposed nonrenewal to, inter alia, cure a procedural defect or to provide additional time for a nonrenewal hearing.  Although [Mr. Marshall] claims his request for a nonrenewal hearing should have carried over from the initial, rescinded notice to the second notice, he cites no school law that so provides.

This clever move by the school district would only work if the relevant notice to the teacher can still be provided by the 10th day prior to the last day of instruction.  Fortunately for the district, they began the nonrenewal process in April and were still able to get a second notice to the teacher in time to meet that deadline.

It’s Marshall v. Spring ISD, decided by the Commissioner on October 14, 2021.  It’s Docket No. 044-R10-06-2021.


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

Tomorrow: Christmas trees and menorahs….