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BOARD AUTHORITY

The Board is charged with the responsibility of governance of the School; governance includes the making of responsible choices in managing the finances and personnel of the School.  Stidham v. Anahuac Indep. Sch. Dist., Tex. Comm’r of Educ. Decision No. 205-R2-687 (1990) (upholding reduction in force due to financial exigency)

The School is always free to change its organizational structure as it seeks to increase its efficiency.  Wasserman v. Nederland Indep. Sch. Dist., Tex. Comm’r of Educ. Decision No. 171-R1-784 (1988)

CONSIDERATION FOR OPEN POSITIONS

The Commissioner has held that, when a position is eliminated due to a necessary reduction in force, the School must transfer the employee to a different position if the teacher meets a School’s objective criteria for that position.  Objective criteria may include credentials, education, experience, applying for the position, and interviewing for the position.  The School need not offer a position to a teacher who refuses to apply and interview for an open position.  Amerson v. Houston Indep. Sch. Dist., Tex. Comm’r of Educ. Decision No. 022-R2-1202 (2003)

PROBATIONARY CONTRACT

A probationary contract employee may be discharged at any time for good cause as determined by the Board.  If the employee is protesting proposed action to terminate a probationary contract before the end of the contract period on the basis of a financial exigency declared under Education Code 44.011 [see CEA], the employee is entitled to a hearing in the manner provided under Education Code 21.207 for nonrenewal of a term contract [see DFBB] or a hearing under Education Code Chapter 21, Subchapter F (hearings before independent hearing examiner) [see DFD], as determined by the board.  Education Code 21.104(a), .1041, .159

The Board may terminate a probationary contract at the end of the contract period if in the Board’s judgment such termination will serve the best interests of the School.  Education Code 21.103(a)

A board may terminate a term contract and discharge a term contract employee at any time due to a financial exigency that requires a reduction in personnel.  Education Code 21.211(a)

An employee who is protesting proposed action to terminate a term contract at any time on the basis of a financial exigency declared under Education Code 44.011 [see CEA] that requires a reduction in personnel must notify the Board in writing not later than the tenth day after the date the employee receives notice of the proposed action.  The employee is entitled to a hearing in the manner provided under Education Code 21.207 for nonrenewal of a term contract [see DFBB] or a hearing under Education Code Chapter 21, Subchapter F (hearings before independent hearing examiner) [see DFD], as determined by the board.  Education Code 21.159

Financial Exigency

The Board may adopt a resolution declaring a financial exigency for the School.  Education Code 44.011  [See CEA]

Hearing Examiner

The independent hearing examiner process does not apply to a decision to terminate a probationary or term contract before the end of the contract period based on a financial exigency declared under Education Code 44.011 [see CEA] that requires a reduction in personnel, unless the Board has decided to use this hearing process.  Education Code 21.251

APPLICABILITY

This policy shall apply only to reductions in force of contractual employees when the reduction in force requires the termination of:

  1. A contract governed by Chapter 21 of the Education Code in the following circumstances:
    1. A probationary contract during the contract period,
    2. A term contract during the contract period, or
    3. A term contract at the end of the contract period.
  2. A contract not governed by Chapter 21 of the Education Code during the contract period.

This policy shall not apply to termination at any time of at-will employment (see TSBVI Board Policy DFFD); termination of a probationary contract at the end of the contract period; or termination at the end of a contract period of a contract not governed by Chapter 21 of the Education Code (see TSBVI Board Policy DCE). 

DEFINITIONS

Definitions used in this policy are as follows:

  1. "Financial exigency" shall mean any event or occurrence that creates a need for the School to reduce financial expenditures for personnel including, but not limited to, a decline in the School’s financial resources, a decline in enrollment, a cut in funding, or an unanticipated expense or capital need. 
  2. "Program change" shall mean any elimination, curtailment, or reorganization of a curriculum offering, program, or school operation.   The term shall include, but not be limited to, a change in curriculum objectives, a modification or reorganization of staffing patterns, a redirection of financial resources to meet the educational needs of the students, or a lack of student response to particular course offerings, legislative revisions to programs.

SCOPE OF REDUCTION

When a reduction in force is to be implemented, the Superintendent may assist the Board by making recommendations to the Board regarding the employment areas to be affected.  In determining affected employment areas, the Board may combine or coordinate employment areas, as defined below.

EMPLOYMENT AREAS

A reduction in force may be implemented in one, several, or all employment areas. Employment areas shall be defined as:

  1. Comprehensive Programs Instruction including but not limited to the sub-areas of Lead Teaching, Behavior Support, Self-Contained Instruction, Art Instruction, Music Instruction, Physical Education, other subject matter instruction and Instructional Substitute.  Each sub-area is a separate employment area.
  2. Comprehensive Programs Related Services including but not limited to the sub-areas of Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Music Therapy, Educational Diagnostic Services, Psychological Services, Social Work Services, Orientation and Mobility Services, and Speech Language Therapy Services.  Each sub-area is a separate employment area.
  3. Short-Term Programs.
  4. Outreach Program including but not limited to the sub-areas of Education of Students with Visual Impairments, Education of Students Who Are Deafblind, Teacher Preparation, and Technology.  Each sub-area is a separate employment area.
  5. Administrative Positions including but not limited to Principal, Assistant Principal and Program Directors.

CRITERIA FOR DECISIONS

Using the following criteria, the Superintendent shall recommend to the Board employees within the affected employment area(s) for discharge or nonrenewal because of a reduction in force.

  1. Certification: Appropriate certification and/or endorsement for current or projected assignment.
  2. Performance: Effectiveness as reflected by appraisal records and other written evaluative information.
  3. If the Superintendent in his or her discretion decides that the documented performance differences between two or more reduction in force prospects are too insubstantial to rely upon, he or she may proceed to apply criteria 3 and, thereafter and to the extent needed, criterion 4.
  4. Seniority: Length of service at the School (this criterion does not require that the service be continuous).
  5. Professional Background: Professional education and work experience related to the current or projected assignment.

CONSIDERATION FOR AVAILABLE POSITIONS

After the Superintendent has identified the appropriate employees in the affected area(s), those employees shall be considered for other available positions for which they are qualified up to the date of a hearing requested in accordance with the provisions below.

NOTICE AND HEARING

After considering the Superintendent’s recommendation, and if no vacancies exist for which the identified employees are qualified, the Board shall determine the employees to be proposed for discharge or nonrenewal, as appropriate.  The Superintendent shall provide each employee written notice of the proposed action, including a statement of the reason(s) requiring such action and notice that the employee is entitled to a hearing.

Adopted:       5/14/83
Amended:      5/29/87, 9/27/91, 11/18/94, 11/17/95, 5/24/96, 3/21/97, 1/24/02, 5/28/03, 4/5/13
Reviewed: