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RESTRICTIONS ON PUBLIC SERVANTS - PENAL CODE

A TSBVI Board Member is a “public servant” for purposes of the following definition:

"Public servant" shall mean a person elected, selected, appointed, employed, or otherwise designated as one of the following, even if the person has not yet qualified for office or assumed his or her duties:

  1. An officer, employee, or agent of government; or
  2. A candidate for nomination or election to public office.

Penal Code 1.07(a)(41)(A), (E)

Prohibited activities are covered by, but are not limited to, the following:

Bribery

  1. A public servant shall not intentionally or knowingly offer, confer, agree to confer on another, solicit, accept, or agree to accept a benefit:
    1. As consideration for the public servant's decision, opinion, recommendation, vote, or other exercise of discretion as a public servant.
    2. As consideration for a violation of a duty imposed on the public servant by law.
    3. That is a political contribution as defined by Title 15 of the Election Code or an expenditure made and reported as a lobbying expense in accordance with Government Code, Chapter 305, if the benefit was offered, conferred, solicited, accepted, or agreed to pursuant to an express agreement to take or withhold a specific exercise of official discretion, if such exercise of official discretion would not have been taken or withheld but for the benefit.
    4. "Benefit" means anything reasonably regarded as pecuniary gain or pecuniary advantage, including benefit to any other person in whose welfare the beneficiary has a direct and substantial interest.

Penal Code 36.01(3), 36.02

Illegal Gifts

  1. A public servant who exercises discretion in connection with contracts, purchases, payments, claims, or other pecuniary transactions shall not solicit, accept, or agree to accept any benefit from a person the public servant knows is interested in or likely to become interested in any such transactions of a district.
Penal Code 1.07(41)(A), (E), 36.08(d)

A public servant who receives an unsolicited benefit that the public servant is prohibited from accepting under this section may donate the benefit to a governmental entity that has the authority to accept the gift or may donate the benefit to a recognized tax exempt charitable organization formed for educational, religious, or scientific purposes. Penal Code 36.08(i)

Exceptions

“Illegal gifts to public servants” does not apply to:

  1. A fee prescribed by law to be received by a public servant or any other benefit to which the public servant is lawfully entitled or for which he or she gives legitimate consideration in a capacity other than as a public servant; 
  2. A gift or other benefit conferred on account of kinship or a personal, professional, or business relationship independent of the official status of the recipient;
  3. A benefit to a public servant required to file a statement under Chapter 572, Government Code, or a report under Title 15, Election Code,  that is derived from a function in honor or appreciation of the recipient if:
    1. The benefit and the source of any benefit in excess of $50 is reported in the statement; and
    2. The benefit is used solely to defray the expenses that accrue in the performance of duties or activities in connection with the office which are nonreimbursable by the state or political subdivision;
  4. A political contribution as defined by Title 15, Election Code;
  5. An item with a value of less than $50, excluding cash or a negotiable instrument as described by Business and Commerce Code 3.104;
  6. An item issued by a governmental entity that allows the use of property or facilities owned, leased, or operated by the governmental entity; or
  7. Food, lodging, transportation, or entertainment accepted as a guest and, if the donee is required by law to report those items, reported by the donee in accordance with that law. 

Penal Code 36.10

Honoraria and Expenses

  1. A public servant commits a class A misdemeanor offense if he or she solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept an honorarium in consideration for services that the public servant would not have been requested to provide but for his or her official position or duties. However, a public servant is not prohibited from accepting transportation and lodging expenses or meals in connection with a conference or similar event in which he or she renders services, such as addressing an audience or engaging in a seminar, to the extent those services are more than merely perfunctory.  Penal Code 36.07

Abuse of Office

  1. A public servant shall not, with intent to obtain a benefit or with intent to harm or defraud another, intentionally or knowingly violate a law relating to the office or misuse government property, services, personnel, or any other thing of value, belonging to the government , that has come into his or her custody by virtue of his or her office or employment.  Penal Code 39.02(a)

"Law relating to the office" means a law that specifically applies to a person acting in the capacity of a public servant and that directly or indirectly imposes a duty on the public servant or governs the conduct of the public servant.  Penal Code 39.01(1)

"Misuse" means to deal with property contrary to:

    1. An agreement under which the public servant holds the property;
    2. A contract of employment or oath of office of a public servant;
    3. A law, including provisions of the General Appropriations Act specifically relating to government property, that prescribes the manner of custody or disposition of the property; or
    4. A limited purpose for which the property is delivered or received.

Penal Code 39.01(2)

Nepotism

  1. Except as provided by law, a public official may not appoint a person to a position that is to be directly or indirectly compensated from public funds or fees of office if:
    1. The person is related to the public official by blood (consanguinity) within the third degree or by marriage (affinity) within the second degree [see below]; or
    2. The public official holds the appointment or confirmation authority as a member of a local board and the person is related to another member of the board by blood or marriage within a prohibited degree.
      Gov't Code 573.002, 573.041; Atty. Gen. Op. JC-0184 (2000) [See DBE]

Definition of Public Official

A TSBVI Board member is a “public official” for purposes of the following definition:

"Public official" shall mean:

  1. An officer of this state or of a district, county, municipality, precinct, school district, or other political subdivision of this state; or
  2. An officer or member of a board of this state or of a district, county, municipality, school district, or other political subdivision of this state.

Gov't Code 573.001(3)

The nepotism law governs the hiring of an individual, whether the individual is hired as an employee or an independent contractor.  Atty. Gen. Op. DM-76 (1992)

A public official may not approve an account or draw or authorize the drawing of a warrant or order to pay the compensation of an ineligible individual if the official knows the individual is ineligible.  Gov't Code 573.083

FORMER BOARD MEMBER EMPLOYMENT

  1. A board member of TSBVI may not accept employment with the School except in accordance with law.

Incompatability Of Office

  1. One person may not occupy two legally incompatible offices. Offices are legally incompatible when the faithful and independent exercise of one would necessarily interfere with the faithful and independent exercise of the other. A person may not serve in one branch of government while exercising any powers properly attached to either of the other branches of government. Texas Constitution, Art. II Sec. 1; State v. Martin, 51 S.W.2d 815 (Tex. Civ. App. 1932); Thomas v. Abernathy County Line ISD, 290 S.W. 15 (Tex. Comm. App. 1927); Turner v. Trinity ISD, 700 S.W.2d 1 (Tex. Ct. App. 1983); Atty. Gen. Op. JM-634 (1987)

Depository Conflict

  1. A board member who is a stakeholder, officer, director, or employee of a bank that has bid or submitted a proposal to become a depository for a district shall not vote on the awarding of a depository contract to said bank.  Education Code 45.204(b)

Instructional Materials Violations - Commissions

  1. A Board member commits a class B misdemeanor offense if the Board member receives any commission or rebate on any  instructional materials or technological equipment used in the schools with which the Board member is associated.  Education Code 31.152(a)

Instructional Materials Violations - Conflict

  1. A Board member commits a class B misdemeanor offense if the Board member accepts a gift, favor, or service that:
    1. Is given to the  board member or the School; 
    2. Might reasonably tend to influence a Board member in the selection of instructional materials or technological equipment; and
    3. Could not be lawfully purchased with funds from state instructional materials funds.

"Gift, favor, or service" does not include staff development, in-service, or teacher training; or instructional materials, such as maps or worksheets, that convey information to the student or otherwise contribute to the learning process.
Education Code 31.152(b)-(d)

INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS VIOLATIONS – PURCHASE AND DISTRIBUTION

A Board member commits a Class C misdemeanor offense if the Board member knowingly violates any law providing for the purchase or distribution of free instructional materials for the public schools.  Education Code 31.153

Adopted:         1/26/07
Amended:        9/20/13
Reviewed:

PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES BY PUBLIC SERVANTS - STATE LAW

A TSBVI Board Member is a “public servant” for purposes of the following definition:

"Public servant" shall mean a person elected, selected, appointed, employed, or otherwise designated as one of the following, even if the person has not yet qualified for office or assumed his or her duties:

  1. An officer, employee, or agent of government; or
  2. A candidate for nomination or election to public office.

Penal Code 1.07(a)(41)(A), (E)

Bribery

  1. A public servant shall not intentionally or knowingly offer, confer, agree to confer on another, solicit, accept, or agree to accept a benefit:
    1. As consideration for the recipient’s decision, opinion, recommendation, vote, or other exercise of discretion as a public servant or voter.
    2. As consideration for a violation of a duty imposed on the public servant by law on the public servant; or
    3. That is a political contribution as defined by Election Code Title 15 or an expenditure made and reported as a lobbying expense in accordance with Government Code, Chapter 305, if the benefit was offered, conferred, solicited, accepted, or agreed to pursuant to an express agreement to take or withhold a specific exercise of official discretion, if such exercise of official discretion would not have been taken or withheld but for the benefit.
    4. "Benefit" means anything reasonably regarded as pecuniary gain or pecuniary advantage, including benefit to any other person in whose welfare the beneficiary has a direct and substantial interest.

Penal Code 36.01(3), 36.02

Illegal Gifts

  1. A public servant who exercises discretion in connection with contracts, purchases, payments, claims, or other pecuniary transactions of government commits an offense if the public servant solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept any benefit from a person the public servant knows is interested in or likely to become interested in any such transactions of TSBVI.

Penal Code 1.07(41)(A), (E), 36.08(d)

A public servant who receives an unsolicited benefit that the public servant is prohibited from accepting under this section may donate the benefit to a governmental entity that has the authority to accept the gift or may donate the benefit to a recognized tax exempt charitable organization formed for educational, religious, or scientific purposes.  Penal Code 36.08(d)(i)

Exceptions

“Illegal gifts” does not apply to:

  1. A fee prescribed by law to be received by a public servant or any other benefit to which the public servant is lawfully entitled or for which the public servant gives legitimate consideration in a capacity other than as a public servant;
  2. A gift or other benefit conferred on account of kinship or a personal, professional, or business relationship independent of the official status of the recipient;
  3. A benefit to a public servant required to file a statement under Chapter 572, Government Code, or a report under Title 15, Election Code, that is derived from a function in honor or appreciation of the recipient if:
    1. The benefit and the source of any benefit in excess of $50 is reported in the statement; and
    2. The benefit is used solely to defray the expenses that accrue in the performance of duties or activities in connection with the office which are nonreimbursable by the state or political subdivision;
  4. A political contribution as defined by, Election Code Title 15;
  5. An item with a value of less than $50, excluding cash or a negotiable instrument as described by Business and Commerce Code 3.104;
  6. An item issued by a governmental entity that allows the use of property or facilities owned, leased, or operated by the governmental entity; or
  7. Food, lodging, transportation, or entertainment accepted as a guest and, if the donee is required by law to report those items, reported by the donee in accordance with that law.

Penal Code 36.10

Honoraria and Expenses

  1. A public servant commits a class A misdemeanor offense if he or she solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept an honorarium in consideration for services that the public servant would not have been requested to provide but for his or her official position or duties. However, a public servant is not prohibited from accepting transportation and lodging expenses or meals in connection with a conference or similar event in which he or she renders services, such as addressing an audience or engaging in a seminar, to the extent those services are more than merely perfunctory. Penal Code 36.07

Abuse of Office

  1. A public servant commits an offense if, with intent to obtain a benefit or with intent to harm or defraud another, intentionally or knowingly violates a law relating to the office or employment, or misuses government property, services, personnel, or any other thing of value, belonging to the government, that has come into the public servant’s custody by virtue of his or her office or employment. Penal Code 39.02(a)

"Law relating to the office" means a law that specifically applies to a person acting in the capacity of a public servant and that directly or indirectly imposes a duty on the public servant or governs the conduct of the public servant.  Penal Code 39.01(1)

"Misuse" means to deal with property contrary to:

  1. An agreement under which the public servant holds the property;
  2. A contract of employment or oath of office of a public servant;
  3. A law, including provisions of the General Appropriations Act specifically relating to government property, that prescribes the manner of custody or disposition of the property; or
  4. A limited purpose for which the property is delivered or received.

Penal Code 39.01(2)

Official Oppression

A public servant acting under color of the public servant’s office or employment commits an offense if the public servant intentionally subjects another to sexual harassment.

A public servant acts under color of the public servant’s office or employment if the person acts or purports to act in an official capacity or takes advantage of such actual or purported capacity.

“Sexual harassment” means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, submission to which is made a term or condition of a person’s exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power, or immunity, either explicitly or implicitly.

Penal Code 39.03(a)(3), (b), (c)

Misuse of official information

A public servant commits an offense if, in reliance on information to which the public servant has access by virtue of the person’s office or employment and that has not been made public, the person:

  1. Acquires or aids another to acquire a pecuniary interest in any property, transaction, or enterprise that may be affected by the information;
  2. Speculates or aids another to speculate on the basis of the information; or
  3. As a public servant, including as a school administrator, coerces another into suppressing or failing to report that information to a law enforcement agency.

A public servant commits an offense if with intent to obtain a benefit or with intent to harm or defraud another, the public servant discloses or uses information for a nongovernmental purpose that:

  1. The person has access to by means of the person’s office or employment; and
  2. Has not been made public.

“Information that has not been made public” means any information to which the public does not generally have access, and that is prohibited from disclosure under Government Code Chapter 552 (the

Public Information Act).  Penal Code 39.06(a), (b), (d)

Nepotism

Except as provided by law, a public official may not appoint, confirm the appointment of or vote for a person to a position that is to be directly or indirectly compensated from public funds or fees of office if:

  1. The person is related to the public official by blood (consanguinity) within the third degree or by marriage (affinity) within the second degree [see below]; or
  2. The public official holds the appointment or confirmation authority as a member of a board and the person is related to another member of the board by blood or marriage within a prohibited degree.

Gov't Code 573.002, 573.041; [See DBE]

Definition of Public Official

A TSBVI Board member is a “public official” for purposes of the following definition:

"Public official" shall mean:

  1. An officer of this state or of a district, county, municipality, precinct, school district, or other political subdivision of this state; or
  2. An officer or member of a board of this state or of a district, county, municipality, school district, or other political subdivision of this state.

Gov't Code 573.001(3)

The nepotism law governs the hiring of an individual, whether the individual is hired as an employee or an independent contractor.  Atty. Gen. Op. DM-76 (1992)

A public official may not approve an account or draw or authorize the drawing of a warrant or order to pay the compensation of an ineligible individual if the official knows the individual is ineligible.  Gov't Code 573.083

A member of a board that has delegated to the superintendent final authority for personnel selection is not a public official with appointment authority for purposes of the nepotism prohibitions of Government Code 573.041.  Atty. Gen. Op. GA-123 (2003)

With respect to renewed contracts, however, Board members may be the relevant public officials for nepotism purposes.  Atty. Gen. Op. GA-177 (2004)

FORMER BOARD MEMBER EMPLOYMENT

  1. A Board member of TSBVI may not accept employment with the School until the first anniversary of the date the Board member’s membership on the Board ends. Education Code 11.063

INCOMPATIBILITY OF OFFICE

  1. The common law rule of incompatibility prohibits one person from holding two offices if the duties are in conflict or if one position is subordinate to the other.  Offices are legally incompatible when the faithful and independent exercise of one would necessarily interfere with the faithful and independent exercise of the other. A person may not serve in one branch of government while exercising any powers properly attached to either of the other branches of government.  Texas Constitution, Art. II Sec. 1; State v. Martin, 51 S.W.2d 815 (Tex. Civ. App. 1932); Thomas v. Abernathy County Line ISD, 290 S.W. 15 (Tex. Comm. App. 1927); Turner v. Trinity ISD, 700 S.W.2d 1 (Tex. Ct. App. 1983); Atty. Gen. Op. JM-634 (1987), MW-450 (1982).

DEPOSITORY CONFLICT

  1. A Board member who is a stakeholder, officer, director, or employee of a bank that has bid or submitted a proposal to become a depository for TSBVI shall not vote on the awarding of a depository contract to said bank.  Education Code 45.204(b); Gov’t. Code 2257

INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS VIOLATIONS – COMMISSIONS/REBATES

  1. A Board member commits a class B misdemeanor offense if the Board member receives any commission or rebate on any instructional materials or technological equipment used in the schools with which the Board member is associated. 

Education Code 31.152(a)

INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS VIOLATIONS - GIFTS

  1. A Board member commits a class B misdemeanor offense if the Board member accepts a gift, favor, or service that:
    1. Is given to the Board member or the School;
    2. Might reasonably tend to influence a Board member in the selection of instructional materials or technological equipment; and
    3. Could not be lawfully purchased with funds from state instructional materials funds.

"Gift, favor, or service" does not include staff development, in-service, or teacher training; or ancillary materials, such as maps or worksheets, that convey information to the student or otherwise contribute to the learning process.

Education Code 31.152(b)-(d)

INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS VIOLATIONS – FREE MATERIALS

  1. A Board member commits an offense if the Board member knowingly violates any law providing for the purchase or distribution of free instructional materials for the public schools.  Education Code 31.153

PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES BY PUBLIC SERVANTS – FEDERAL LAW

Bribery - General

The term “public official” includes a person acting for or on behalf of the United States, or any department, agency, or branch thereof, in any official function, under or by authority of any such department, agency, or branch of government.  The term includes any person who has been nominated or appointed to be a public official, or has been officially informed that such person will be so nominated or appointed.  18 U.S.C. 201(a); Dixson v. U.S., 465 U.S. 482, 499 (1984) (holding that even employees of a private organization that administered federal housing grants for city were “public officials” because they had some degree of official responsibility for carrying out a federal program or policy); U.S. v. Franco, 632 F.3d 880 (5th Cir. 2011)

A public official commits an offense if the public official, directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally or for any other person or entity, in return for:

  1. Being influenced in the performance of any official act;
  2. Being influenced to commit or aid in committing, or to collude in, or allow, any fraud, or make opportunity for the commission of any fraud, on the United States; or
  3. Being induced to do or omit to do any act in violation of the official duty of such official or person.

18 U.S.C. 201(b)(2)

Bribery – Federal Programs

“Agent” means a person authorized to act on behalf of another person or a government.  In the case of a government, the term includes a servant or employee, and a partner, director, officer, manager, and representative.

“Government agency” means a subdivision of the executive, legislative, judicial, or other branch of government, including a department, independent establishment, commission, administration, authority, board, and bureau, and a corporation or other legal entity established, and subject to control, by a government or for the execution of a governmental or intergovernmental program.

If TSBVI receives, in any one year period, benefits in excess of $10,000 under a federal program involving a grant, contract, subsidy, loan, guarantee, insurance, or other form of federal assistance, an agent of the district commits an offense if the agent:

  1. Embezzles, steals, obtains by fraud, or otherwise without authority knowingly converts to the use of any person other than the rightful owner or intentionally misapplies, property that:
    1. Is valued at $5,000 or more, and
    2. Is owned by, or is under the care, custody, or control of TSBVI; or
  2. Corruptly solicits or demands for the benefit of any person, or accepts or agrees to accept, anything of value from any person, intending to be influenced or rewarded in connection with any business, transaction, or series of transactions of the district involving anything of value of $5,000 or more.

This provision does not apply to bona fide salary, wages, fees, or other compensation paid, or expenses paid or reimbursed, in the usual course of business.

18 U.S.C. 666

Adopted:         1/26/07

Amended:       9/20/13, 11/17/17, 11/15/19

Reviewed:      

BOARD AUTHORITY

Board members as a body corporate have the exclusive power and duty to govern and oversee the management of TSBVI.  Education Code 11.151(b)

The Board may act only by majority vote of the members present at a meeting held in compliance with Government Code Chapter 551 (Open Meetings Act), at which a quorum of the Board is present and voting.  Unless authorized by the Board, a member of the Board may not, individually, act on behalf of the Board.  Education Code 11. 051(a-1)

ACCESS TO INFORMATION

When acting in the member’s official capacity, TSBVI board members have an inherent right of access to information, documents, and records maintained by TSBVI.

“Official capacity” means all duties of office and includes administrative decisions or actions.

TSBVI shall provide the information, documents and records to the board member without requiring the board member to submit a public information request under Texas Government Code Chapter 552 (Public Information Act) and without regard to whether the requested items are the subject of or related to an item listed on an agenda for an upcoming meeting.

TSBVI shall provide a board member with information, documents, and records requested not later than the 20th business day after the date the School receives the request. TSBVI may take a reasonable additional period of time, not to exceed the 30th business day after the date the School receives the request, to respond to a request if compliance by the 20th business day would be unduly burdensome given the amount, age, or location of the requested information.  The School shall inform the board member of the reason for the delay and the date by which the information will be provided.

If TSBVI does not provide requested information to a board member in the time required, the member may bring suit against TSBVI for appropriate injunctive relief. A member who prevails in suit is entitled to recover court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees. TSBVI shall pay the costs and fees from the budget of the superintendent’s office.

Confidential Information

TSBVI may withhold or redact information, a document, or a record requested by a board member to the extent that the item is excepted from disclosure or is confidential under the Public Information Act or other law [see GBA].

A board member shall maintain the confidentiality of information, documents, and records received from the School as required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. 1232g) and any other applicable privacy laws. [See FL].

Reports of Requests

TSBVI shall post, in a place convenient to the public, the cost of responding to one or more requests submitted by a board member under Education Code 11.1512(c) if the requests are for 200 or more pages of material in a 90-day period.

TSBVI shall report annually to TEA not later than September 1 of each year:

  1. The number of requests submitted by a board member under Education Code 11.1512(c) during the preceding school year; and
  2. The total cost to the School for that school year of responding to the requests.

Education Code 11.1512(c)-(f)

Access to Student Records

Personally identifiable information in education records may be released, without the written consent of the student’s parents, only to a school official who has a legitimate educational interest in the education records.  34 CFR 99.31 [See FL]

Offenses Regarding Records

A person, including a board member, commits a criminal offense if the person:

  1. Knowingly or intentionally destroys, conceals, removes, or otherwise impairs the verity, legibility, or availability of a TSBVI record in contravention of Government Code Chapter 441. Gov’t Code 441.187; Penal Code 37.10
  2. Willfully destroys, mutilates, removes without permission public information as provided by Government Code Chapter 552 (Public Information Act) or alters public information. Gov’t Code 552.351
  3. Distributes information considered confidential under the Public Information Act. Gov’t Code 552.352

[For information regarding the offenses of destruction or alienation of record and tampering with governmental record, see CPC.  For information regarding misuse of official information, see BBFB(LEGAL).]

VISITS TO SCHOOL CAMPUS

TSBVI shall create a policy on visits to the School campus or facility by a member of the Board.

PROTECTIONS FOR ACTING ON A LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY

A public official, including a Board member, may not be subject to disciplinary action or a sanction, penalty, disability, or liability for:

  1. An action permitted by law that the public official takes in his or her official capacity regarding a legislative measure;
  2. Proposing, endorsing, or expressing support for or opposition to a legislative measure or taking any action permitted by law to support or oppose a legislative measure;
  3. The effect of a legislative measure or of a change in law proposed by a legislative measure on any person; or
  4. A breach of duty, in connection with the Board member's practice of or employment in a licensed or regulated profession or occupation, to disclose to any person information, or to obtain a waiver or consent from any person, regarding the public official’s actions relating to a legislative measure; or the substance, effects, or potential effects of a legislative measure.

Gov't Code 572.059

BOARD MEMBER IMMUNITIES

The statutory immunity detailed below is in addition to and does not preempt the common law doctrine of official and governmental immunity.  Education Code 22.051(b)

State Law Immunities

A Board member is not personally liable for any act that is incident to or within the scope of the duties of the trustee’s position and that involves the exercise of judgment or discretion.  Education Code 22.0511(a)

Federal Law Immunities

Except as provided in 20 U.S.C. Section 6736(b), no Board member shall be liable for harm caused by an act or omission of the Board member on behalf of TSBVI if the conditions of the Paul D. Coverdell Teacher Protection Act of 2001 are met.  20 U.S.C. Section 7943, 7946(a) [See also DGC]. 

Adopted:         3/7/80

Amended:       9/27/90, 1/24/97, 1/30/04, 11/19/04, 9/20/13, 9/29/17, 6/1/18, 9/27/19

Reviewed:       1/13/92, 1/24/02

FRAMEWORK FOR SCHOOL BOARD DEVELOPMENT

Preamble:  The Board is the educational policy-making body for the School.  To effectively meet the challenges of public education, the Board and the Superintendent must function together as a leadership team.  Each leadership team must annually assess its development needs as a corporate body and individually to gain its understanding of the vision, structure, accountability, advocacy, and unity needed to provide educational programs and services that ensure the equity and excellence in performance of all students.  The Framework for School Board Development has been approved by the State Board of Education to provide the critical areas of development for all public school boards.

I. Vision -- The Board ensures creation of a shared vision that promotes enhanced student achievement.

  • The Board keeps the School focus on the educational welfare of all children.
  • The Board adopts a shared vision based on community beliefs to guide local education.
  • The Board ensures that the vision supports the state's mission, objectives, and goals for education established by law and/or rule.
  • The Board ensures that the School vision expresses the present and future needs of the children and community.
  • The Board uses the vision to assess the importance of individual issues that come before the Board and demonstrates its commitment to the vision by using the vision to guide all Board deliberations, decisions, and actions.
  • Individual Board members should not have individual agendas separate and apart from the shared vision.

II. Structure -- The Board provides guidance and direction for accomplishing the vision.

  • The Board recognizes the respective roles of the legislature, the State Board of Education, the Texas Education Agency, and the local Board in the governance of the School.
  • The Board fulfills the statutory duties of the local Board and upholds all laws, rules, ethical procedures, and court orders pertaining to schools and school employees.
  • The Board focuses its actions on policy making, planning, and evaluation and restricts its involvement in management to the responsibility of oversight.
  • The Board adopts a planning and decision making process consistent with state  law and/or rule that uses participation, information, research, and evaluation to help achieve the School's vision.
  • The Board ensures that the School planning and decision making process enables all segments of the community, parents, and professional staff to contribute meaningfully to achieving the School's vision.
  • The Board develops and adopts policies that provide guidance for accomplishing the School's vision, mission and goals.
  • The Board adopts a budget that incorporates sound business and fiscal practices and provides resources to achieve the School's vision, mission and goals.
  • The Board adopts goals, approves student performance objectives, and establishes policies that provide a well-balanced curriculum resulting in improved student learning.
  • The Board approves goals, policies, and programs that ensure a safe and disciplined environment conducive to learning.
  • The Board oversees the management of the School by employing the Superintendent and evaluating the Superintendent's performance in providing education leadership, managing daily operations, and performing all duties assigned by law and/or rule and in support of the School’s vision.
  • The Board adopts policies and standards for hiring, assigning, appraising, terminating, and compensating School personnel in compliance with state laws and rules.

III. Accountability -- The Board measures and communicates how well the vision is being accomplished.

  • The Board ensures progress toward achievement of School goals through a systematic, timely, and comprehensive review of reports prepared by or at the direction of the Superintendent.
  • The Board monitors the effectiveness and efficiency of instructional programs by reviewing reports prepared by or at the direction of the Superintendent and directs the Superintendent to make modifications that promote maximum achievement for all students.
  • The Board ensures that appropriate assessments are used to measure achievement of all students.
  • The Board reports School progress to parents and community in compliance with state laws and regulations.
  • The Board reviews School policies for effective support of the School's vision, mission and goals.
  • The Board reviews the efficiency and effectiveness of School operations and use of resources in supporting the School’s vision, mission, and goals.
  • The Board evaluates the Superintendent’s performance annually in compliance with state laws and regulations.
  • The Board annually evaluates its performance in fulfilling the Board’s duties and responsibilities, and the Board’s ability to work with the Superintendent as a team.

IV. Advocacy – The Board promotes the vision.

  • The Board demonstrates its commitment to the shared vision, mission, and goals by clearly communicating them to the Superintendent, the staff, and community.
  • The Board ensures an effective two-way communication system between the School and its students, employees, media, and the community.
  • The Board builds partnerships with community, business, and governmental leaders to influence and expand educational opportunities and meet the needs of students.
  • The Board supports children by establishing partnerships between the School, parents, business leaders, and other community members as an integral part of the School’s educational program.
  • The Board leads in recognizing the achievements of students, staff, and others in education.
  • The Board promotes school Board service as a meaningful way to make long-term contributions to the local community and society.
  • The Board provides input and feedback to the legislature, State Board of Education, and the Texas Education Agency regarding proposed changes to ensure maximum effectiveness and benefit to the schoolchildren of TSBVI.

V. Unity – The Board works with the Superintendent to lead the School toward the vision.

  • The Board ensures that its members understand and respect the need to function as a team in governing and overseeing the management of the School. 
  • The Board develops skills in teamwork, problem solving, and decision making.
  • The Board establishes and follows local policies, procedures, and ethical standards governing the conduct and operations of the Board.
  • The Board understands and adheres to laws and local policies regarding the Board’s responsibility to set policy and the Superintendent’s responsibility to manage the School and to direct employees in School matters.
  • The Board recognizes the leadership role of the Board President and adheres to law and local policies regarding the duties and responsibilities of the Board President and other officers.
  • The Board adopts and adheres to established policies and procedures for receiving and addressing ideas and concerns from students, parents, employees, and the community.
  • The Board makes decisions as a whole only at properly called meetings and recognizes that individual members have no authority to take individual action in policy or School administrative matters.
  • The Board supports decisions of the majority after honoring the right of individual members to express opposing view-points and vote their convictions.

Adopted by the State Board of Education, January 1996, as authorized by 19 TAC 61.1; revised July 2012.

Adopted:         5/30/86
Amended:        11/13/92, 9/24/93, 3/21/97, 9/20/13
Reviewed:       1/31/03

OPEN MEETINGS ACT TRAINING

Not later than   the 90th day after taking the oath of office, each board member shall complete training of not less than one and not more than two hours regarding the responsibilities of the Board and its members under Chapter 551 of the Texas Government Code (Texas Open Meetings Act). 

The attorney general may provide the training and may also approve other acceptable sources of training.

The TSBVI Board shall maintain and make available for public inspection the record of its members’ completion of the training.  The failure of one or more members of the board to complete the training does not affect the validity of an action taken by the board.

Gov't Code 551.005

PUBLIC INFORMATION ACT TRAINING

Not later than the 90th day after taking the oath of office, each board member shall complete training of not less than one hour and not more than two hours regarding the responsibilities of the School and school officers and employees under Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code (Public Information Act).  A board member may designate a public information coordinator to satisfy the training for the board member if the public information coordinator is primarily responsible for administering the responsibilities of the board member or board under the Public Information Act. [See GBAA regarding public information coordinator training] 

The Board delegates to the Superintendent the responsibility to ensure that the TSBVI official in charge of coordinating public information satisfies the training requirements of Government Code 552.012 for the board member.

Gov't Code 552.012 

SBOE-REQUIRED TRAINING

Each Board member must complete any training required by the State Board of Education.  The training requirement consists of orientation sessions, an annual team building session with the board and the superintendent, and specified hours of continuing education based on identified needs.  To the extent possible, an entire board shall participate in training programs together.  19 TAC 61.1(b), (i)

The State Board of Education’s framework for governance leadership (see BBD-E) shall be distributed annually by the board president to all current board members and the superintendent.  19 TAC 61.1(a)

No training shall take place during a board meeting unless that meeting is called for the delivery of board training.  Training may take place prior to or after a legally called board meeting in accordance with the Open Meetings Act.  19 TAC 61.1(c)

Annually, the State Board of Education shall commend those teams that receive at least eight hours of training in team building and annual continuing as an entire board-superintendent team  19 TAC 61.1(k)

Reporting 

Annually, at the last regular meeting of the board held during a calendar year, the president shall announce, and the minutes must reflect, the name of each board member who has completed the required training, who has exceeded the required hours of training, and who is deficient in the required training as of the date of the meeting.  The announcement shall include a statement that completion of the required annual training is an obligation and expectation of any board member under SBOE rule.  The President shall cause the minutes to reflect the information.  If the minutes reflect that a trustee is deficient, the Board shall post the minutes on the School’s Internet website within ten business days of the meeting and maintain the posting until the trustee meets the requirements. Education Code 11.159; 19 TAC 61.1(j)

Orientation

New Members

Within 60 days before or after a board member’s appointment, a new board member shall participate in a local orientation session.  The purpose of this orientation is to familiarize the new board member with local board policies and procedures and TSBVI goals and priorities.  The orientation shall be at least three hours in length for each new board member and must address TSBVI practices in curriculum and instruction, business and finance operations, School operations, Superintendent’s evaluation, and board member roles and responsibilities.  19 TAC 61.1(b)(1)(A)

Within the first 120 days of service, a newly appointed board member shall receive an orientation to the Texas Education Code Chapter 26 (Parental Rights and Responsibilities) and Texas Education Code 28.004 (School Health Advisory Council and Health Education Instruction).  The orientation shall be delivered by a regional education service center and shall be no less than three hours in length.  19 TAC 61.1(b)(1)(B)

Current Members

Any current board member may attend or participate in the local orientation and orientation to the Education Code offered to new board members.  19 TAC 61.1 (b)(1)(A), (B)

Legislative Updates

After each session of the Texas Legislature, each board member shall receive an update to the basic orientation to the Texas Education Code from a regional education service center or any registered provider.  A board member who has attended a basic orientation session given by a service center that incorporates the most recent legislative changes is not required to attend an additional legislative update.  19 TAC 61.1(b)(1)(D)

Team Building

Annually, the entire Board, including all Board members, shall participate with the Superintendent in a team building session facilitated by a regional education service center or any registered provider.  The team building session shall be of a length deemed appropriate by the Board, but generally at least three hours.

The purpose of the team building session is to enhance the effectiveness of the Board-Superintendent team and to assess the continuing education needs of the Board-Superintendent team.  The session shall include a review of the roles, rights, and responsibilities of the board as outlined in the framework for governance leadership.  The assessment of needs shall be based on the framework for governance leadership (see BBD-E) and shall be used to plan continuing education activities for the governance leadership team for the upcoming year.

19 TAC 61.1(b)(2)

Annual Continuing Education

In addition to the orientation and team building training, all Board members shall receive additional continuing education on an annual basis, in fulfillment of assessed needs and based on the framework for governance leadership. [See BBD-E] The continuing education sessions may be provided by a regional education service center or other registered provider.  19 TAC 61.1(b)(3)

At least 50 percent of the continuing education shall be designed and delivered by persons not employed or affiliated with the School.  No more than one hour of the required continuing education that is delivered by the TSBVI may use self-instructional materials. 19 TAC 61.1(h)

First Year

In the first year of service, a board member shall receive at least ten hours of continuing education. Up to five of the required ten hours may be fulfilled through online instruction, provided the training is designed and offered by a registered provider, incorporates interactive activities that assess learning and provide feedback to the learner, and offers an opportunity for interaction with the instructor.  19 TAC 61.1(b)(3)(A)

Subsequent Years

After the first year of service, a board member shall receive at least five hours of continuing education annually.  Board members may fulfill the five hours of continuing education through online instruction provided that the training is designed and offered by a registered provider, incorporates interactive activities that assess learning and provide feedback to the learner, and offers an opportunity for interaction with the instructor.  19 TAC 61.1(b)(3)(B)

Board President

The Board President shall receive continuing education related to leadership duties of a board president as some portion of the annual requirement.  19 TAC 61.1(b)(3)(C)

Adopted:          9/15/88
Amended:         9/27/90, 9/27/91, 3/27/92, 3/25/94, 3/21/97, 11/19/04, 9/22/06, 4/3/09, 9/20/13, 9/29/17, 4/6/18
Reviewed:        11/3/92, 1/31/03

RESIGNATION

A board member may resign by delivering written notice, signed by the board member, to the presiding officer of the board and to the Governor’s Office.  Tex. Const., Art. IV, Sec. 12

Holdover Doctrine

All public officers shall continue to perform the duties of their offices until their successors shall be duly qualified, i.e., sworn in.  Until the vacancy created by a board member’s resignation is filled by a successor, the board member continues to serve and have the duties and powers of office and continues to be subject to the nepotism provisions.  Tex. Const., Art. IV, Sec. 12; Art. XVI, Sec. 17; Atty. Gen. Ops. JM-636 (1987), O-6259 (1945)  [See DBE (TSBVI) - EMPLOYMENT REQUIREMENTS AND RESTRICTIONS: NEPOTISM for more information on nepotism]

VACANCY

In a timely manner following the occurrence of a vacancy on the Board, whether because a Board member's term has expired, the Board member has resigned, or for any other reason, the Superintendent shall ensure that the Board president is informed of the vacancy and shall notify the Governor's Appointment’s Office.

RESIDENCY

A person appointed to serve as a board member must remain a resident of Texas throughout the term of office.  A board member who ceases to reside in Texas vacates his or her office.  Tex. Const., Art XVI, Sec. 14; Prince v. Inman, 280S.W. 2d 779 (Tex. Civ. App. – Beaumont 1955, no writ); Whitmarsh V. Buckley, 324 S.W.2d 298 (Tex. Civ. App. – Houston 1959, no writ)  [See BBA (TSBVI) - BOARD MEMBERS: APPOINTMENTS/QUALIFICATIONS]

INVOLUNTARY REMOVAL FROM OFFICE

Quo Warranto

On his or her own motion, or at the request of an individual, the attorney general or the county or district attorney may petition the district court for leave to file an action in quo warranto to remove a board member.  An action in quo warranto is available if:

  1. A person usurps, intrudes into, or unlawfully holds or executes a public office; or
  2. A public officer does an act or allows an act that by law causes forfeiture of office.

If the person against whom the information is filed is found guilty as charged, the court:

  1. Shall enter judgment removing the person from the office and for the costs of prosecution; and
  2. May fine the person for usurping, intruding into, or unlawfully holding and executing the office.

Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code 66.001-.003

Removal for Purchasing Violations

A trustee who is convicted of a purchasing offense [see CH (TSBVI) - PURCHASING AND ACQUISITION, regarding impermissible practices] is considered to have committed official misconduct and is subject to removal under Local Government Code Chapter 87.  Education Code 44.032(e)

SERVICE PENDING APPOINTMENT TO FILL VACANCY

A Board member whose term has expired, but whose successor has not been appointed, is eligible to continue serving on the Board until a successor has been appointed by the Governor.  Denison v. State, 61 S.W.2d 1017 (Tex. Civ. App. 1933)

FORMER BOARD MEMBER EMPLYMENT

A board member is prohibited from accepting employment with TSBVI until the first anniversary of the date the board member’s membership on a board ends.  Education Code 11.063

TEMPORARY REPLACEMENT OF BOARD MEMBER ON MILITARY ACTIVE DUTY

A board member who enters active duty in the armed forces of the United States as a result of being called to duty, drafted, or activated does not vacate the office held, but the governor may appoint a replacement to serve as a temporary board member if the appointed board member will be on active duty for longer than 30 days.

The board member who is temporarily replaced may recommend to the governor the name of a person to temporarily fill the office.  The governor shall appoint the temporary board member to begin service on the date specified in writing by the board member being temporarily replaced as the date the board member will enter active military service.

A temporary board member has all the powers, privileges, and duties of the office as the board member who is temporarily replaced.  A temporary board member shall perform the duties of office for the shorter period of:

  1. The term of the active military service of the board member who is temporarily replaced; or
  2. The term of office of the board member who is temporarily replaced.

“Armed forces of the United States” means the United States Army, the United States Navy, the United States Air Force, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Coast Guard, any reserve or auxiliary component of any of these services, or the National Guard.

Tex. Const., Art. XVI, Sec. 72

Adopted:         11/15/96

Amended:       4/3/09, 1/31/14, 4/6/18, 6/1/18

Reviewed:       1/24/02, 9/22/06

STATEMENT OF OFFICER

"I, ______________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I have not directly or indirectly paid, offered, or promised to pay, contributed, or promised to contribute any money or thing of value, or promised any public office or employment for the giving or withholding of a vote at the election at which I was elected or as a reward to secure my appointment, or confirmation, whichever the case may be, so help me God."

Position to Which Elected/Appointed:  ____________________________________________________

City and/or County:  ___________________________________________________________________

Execution

Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have read the foregoing statement and that the facts stated therein are true.

OATH OF OFFICE

"In the name and by the authority of the State of Texas, I, ________________________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the duties of the office of Board Member for the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired of the State of Texas, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this state, so help me God."

Adopted:         9/27/90
Amended:        11/13/92, 11/15/96, 9/29/17
Reviewed:       1/24/02, 11/20/09, 1/31/14

APPOINTMENT

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is governed by a nine-member board appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.

Education Code 30.022(a)

Members of the Board serve for terms of six years, with the terms of three members expiring on January 31 of each odd-numbered year.

Education Code 30.022(b)

ELIGIBILITY

To be eligible for appointment to, the office of TSBVI board member, a person must:

  1. Be a United States citizen.
  2. Be a Texas resident.

Tex. Const. Art. XVI, Sec. 14, governor’s appointment application

Residency

Residence Defined

“Residence” means domicile, one’s home and fixed place of habitation to which one intends to return after any temporary absence; one does not lose one’s residence status by leaving to go to another place for temporary purposes only. A person does not acquire a residence in a place to which the person has come for temporary purposes only and without the intention of making that place the person’s home. Residence shall be determined in accordance with the common-law rules, as enunciated by the courts of this state. TX Constitution Art 16, Sec. 14

MEMBERSHIP

The Board shall be composed of:

  1. Three members who are blind, or visually impaired, at least one of whom has received educational services related to the blindness, or visual impairment;
  2. Three members who are working, or have worked, as professionals in the field of delivering services to persons who are blind, or visually impaired; and
  3. Three members, each of whom is the parent of a child who is blind, or visually impaired, and at least one of whom is the parent of a child, who, at the time of the parent's appointment, is receiving education services related to the blindness, or visual impairment.

Education Code 30.022(a)

STATEMENT OF OFFICER AND OATH OF OFFICE

Newly appointed Trustees shall sign and file with the Secretary of State the required Oath or Affirmation set out in Board Policy BBA-E in accordance with Texas Constitution Article XVI, Section 1.  After the statement has been filed, and before entering upon the duties of the office, the Trustees shall take the oath or affirmation of office and shall file it with the Secretary of State.  Tex. Const. Art. XVI, Sec. 1

The oath may be administered and a certificate of the fact given by:

  1. A judge, retired judge, or clerk of a municipal court;
  2. A judge, retired judge, senior judge, clerk, or commissioner of a court of record;
  3. A justice of the peace, or a clerk of a justice court;  
  4. An associate judge, magistrate, master, referee, or criminal law hearing officer;
  5. A notary public;
  6. A member of a board or commission created by a law of this state, in a matter pertaining to a duty of the board or commission;
  7. The Secretary or former Secretary of State of Texas;
  8. An employee of a personal bond office, or an employee of a county, who is employed to obtain information required to be obtained under oath if the oath is required or authorized by Article 17.04 (personal bond) or by Article 26.04(n) or (o), Code of Criminal Procedure;
  9. The Lieutenant Governor or former Lieutenant Governor of Texas;
  10. The Speaker or former Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives;
  11. The Governor or former Governor of Texas;
  12. A Texas legislator or retired legislator;
  13. The Attorney General for Texas or a former Attorney General;
  14. A county treasurer.

Gov't Code 602.002, 602.006

INELIGIBILITY

A person is ineligible to serve as a member of the Board if the person has been convicted of an offense under Penal Code 43.02(b) (regarding prostitution). Education Code 11.066

Adopted:         11/9/79

Amended:       1/16/81, 3/9/90, 9/27/90, 3/22/91, 11/13/92, 11/15/96, 9/22/06, 9/29/17, 6/1/18

Reviewed:       1/24/02, 4/3/09, 11/20/09, 1/31/14

APPOINTMENT

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is governed by a nine-member board appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.
Education Code 30.022(a)

Members of the Board serve for terms of six years, with the terms of three members expiring on January 31 of each odd-numbered year.
Education Code 30.022(b)

MEMBERSHIP

The Board shall be composed of:

  1. Three members who are blind, or visually impaired, at least one of whom has received educational services related to the blindness, or visual impairment;
  2. Three members who are working, or have worked, as professionals in the field of delivering services to persons who are blind, or visually impaired; and
  3. Three members, each of whom is the parent of a child who is blind, or visually impaired, and at least one of whom is the parent of a child, who, at the time of the parent's appointment, is receiving education services related to the blindness, or visual impairment.

Education Code 30.022(a)

STATEMENT OF OFFICER AND OATH OF OFFICE

Newly appointed Trustees shall sign and file with the Secretary of State the required Oath or Affirmation set out in Board Policy BBA-E in accordance with Texas Constitution Article XVI, Section 1.  After the statement has been filed, and before entering upon the duties of the office, the Trustees shall take the oath or affirmation of office and shall file it with the Secretary of State.  Tex. Const. Art. XVI, Sec. 1

The oath may be administered and a certificate of the fact given by:

  1. A judge, retired judge, or clerk of a municipal court;
  2. A judge, retired judge, senior judge, clerk, or commissioner of a court of record;
  3. A justice of the peace, or a clerk of a justice court;
  4. An associate judge, magistrate, master, referee, or criminal law hearing officer;
  5. A notary public;
  6. A member of a board or commission created by a law of this state, in a matter pertaining to a duty of the board or commission;
  7. A person employed by the Texas Ethics Commission who has a duty related to a report required by Title 15, Election Code, in a matter pertaining to that duty;
  8. A county tax assessor-collector or an employee of the county tax assessor-collector if the oath relates to a document that is required or authorized to be filed in the office of the county tax assessor-collector;
  9. The Secretary or former Secretary of State of Texas;
  10. An employee of a personal bond office, or an employee of a county, who is employed to obtain information required to be obtained under oath if the oath is required or authorized by Article 17.04 or by Article 26.04(n) or (o), Code of Criminal Procedure;
  11. The Lieutenant Governor or former Lieutenant Governor of Texas;
  12. The Speaker or former Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives;
  13. The Governor or former Governor of Texas;
  14. A Texas legislator or retired legislator;
  15. The Attorney General for Texas or a former Attorney General;
  16. The secretary or clerk of a municipality in a matter pertaining to the official business of the municipality;
  17. A peace officer described in Article 2.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, if:
    1. the oath is administered when the officer is engaged in the performance of the officer’s duties; and
    2. the administration of the oath relates to the officer’s duties; or
  18. A county treasurer. 

Gov't Code 602.002, 602.006

 

Adopted:          11/9/79

Amended:         1/16/81, 3/9/90, 9/27/90, 3/22/91, 11/13/92, 11/15/96, 9/22/06, 9/29/17

Reviewed:       1/24/02, 4/3/09, 11/20/09, 1/31/14

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is governed by a nine-member board appointed by the governor in accordance with this section and confirmed by the senate.

Education Code 30.022(a)

The Board has exclusive jurisdiction over the physical assets of the School.

Education Code 30.022(h)

The Board shall organize and conduct itself in the same manner as an independent school district board of trustees except to the extent that such organization does not conflict with the Board's responsibilities related to the status of the School as a state agency.

Education Code 30.022(d)

Adopted: 11/9/79

Amended: 5/8/81, 11/15/96, 11/16/07

Reviewed: 11/13/92, 1/24/02, 11/21/03, 1/31/14