What to do when the district proposes to nonrenew your contract….

What are you supposed to do if the district gives you notice that your one-year contract will not be renewed for the next year?  Well, of course you can resign.  You can move to Tahiti.  You can fire up the ol’ RV and hit the road.  You can try another career.  But if you want to continue to work for the district you have to ask for a hearing before the school board. Then you have to show up for the hearing. If you don’t do those things, you are sort of up the proverbial creek. 

Lesley Johnson maintains that Dublin ISD violated the Texas Open Meetings Act by failing to properly post the agenda for the meeting.  Is she right about that?  We don’t know.  What we do know is that the Commissioner will not hear her case.  This sounds very straightforward, but the Commissioner’s decision goes into a bit of detail as to why he would not hear this case.

For one thing, the local record of the nonrenewal made no mention of the teacher’s claim about the TOMA. That’s because the teacher did not bring it up. In fact, she didn’t show up.  So the Commissioner has to base his decision on the local record and the local record said nothing about this issue. So that’s one reason.

Second, the teacher failed to “exhaust her administrative remedies.” She was required to pursue a hearing before the local board, but did not do so. Again, she didn’t show up. That’s a failure to exhaust. 

Third, complaining of a TOMA violation does not give the Commissioner jurisdiction when “those issues were not raised at the school district level.”  You see the pattern? It all comes down to showing up.

Fourth, it is exceptionally well established that teachers who are up for possible nonrenewal are not entitled to constitutional due process.  In support of that proposition, the Commissioner cites earlier cases from Los Fresnos, Killeen, Marshall, Austin, and Aldine.  Just to make sure we all understand, the Commissioner added that “even if Petitioner’s due process rights could have been violated, Petitioner has waived that issue and failed to exhaust administrative remedies by not raising it at the local level.” 

Got that?  Ya gotta show up.  It’s Johnson v. Dublin ISD, Dkt. No. 043-R2-06-2021, decided by Commissioner Morath on July 3, 2021. 


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

Tomorrow:  triggering the Child Find duty…