The Commissioner’s jurisdiction….

It seems of late that a lot of cases that are appealed to T.E.A are being dismissed on the basis of a lack of jurisdiction.  In several recent decisions the Commish has pointed out that things changed in 1995 when Chapter 7 of the Education Code was amended.  Prior to that year the Commissioner had the authority to rule on a wider variety of cases. But since 1995 the Commissioner’s authority under T.E.C. 7.057 has been limited to two types of cases: those alleging a violation of a written employment contract that caused monetary harm; and those alleging a violation of “the school laws of this state.” The “school laws” are only those contained in Titles I and II of the T.E.C.

A recent decision from DeSoto ISD points out all the things the Commissioner does not have the power to address. These include:

  1. Violations of the U.S. Constitution.
  2. Violations of school board policy.
  3. Violations of federal law.
  4. Violations of the Code of Ethics and Standard Practices for Texas Educators.

Mr. Michael Robinson alleged that DeSoto ISD “improperly reduced his compensation.” But he did not allege that a written employment contract was violated, nor did he properly plead any violation of “the school laws of this state.”  Case dismissed.

It’s Robinson v. DeSoto ISD, decided by the Commissioner on November 15, 2021. I’m pleased to let you know that Sandi Tarski and Wesley Nute of our firm’s Irving office handled this one for the district. 


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Tomorrow:  the Case of the Hopkinton Hockey Eight….