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TSBVI shall hire, assign, reassign, promote, demote, or dismiss employees according to nondiscriminatory, job-related standards.

The Board establishes the following objective criteria for decisions regarding the hiring, assignment, reassignment, promotion, demotion, or dismissal of School personnel. These criteria are not rank-ordered and may be considered in whole, or in part, in making such decisions.

  1. Education and/or training.
  2. Certification or licensure.
  3. Experience.
  4. Demonstrated knowledge and skills related to the position.
  5. References.
  6. Performance appraisals.
  7. Disciplinary actions.
  8. Suitability for the position as demonstrated in the interview (e.g., interpersonal, communication skills).
  9. The needs of the School.

Adopted:         3/31/98
Amended:        4/5/13
Reviewed:       1/24/02

SERVICES TO EMPLOYEES

TSBVI's governing board may expend money for the provision of first aid, or other minor medical attention, for employees injured in the course and scope of their employment, and for the repair and/or replacement of employees' items of personal property which are damaged, or destroyed, in the course and scope of their employment, so long as such items are medically prescribed equipment (e.g. eyeglasses, hearing aids, etc.).

General Appropriations Act, Article III, Special Provisions for the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Texas School for the Deaf (2001).

Adopted: 7/13/79
Amended: 11/19/93, 9/27/96, 9/26/97, 11/22/02
Reviewed:

TSBVI DIRECT ACCESS TO DPS RECORDS

TSBVI is entitled to obtain criminal history record information maintained by the Department of Public Safety, the Federal Bureau of Investigation identification division or another law enforcement agency which relates to School employees, professional consultants and applicants for permanent, temporary, or consultative employment, or volunteer positions whose employment, or potential employment, or volunteer position with the School involves direct interactions with, or the opportunity to interact and associate with, the children or youth attending the School.

Criminal history record information obtained by the School under subsection (a) may not be released, or disclosed, to any person except on court order with the consent of the person who is the subject of the criminal history record information, or as provided by subsection (d).

The School shall destroy criminal history record information that relates to a person after the information is used for its authorized purpose.

The School may provide the applicant, employee, professional consultant, or volunteer, with a copy of the respective criminal history record information obtained from the Department of Public Safety,

Federal Bureau of Investigation identification division, or another law enforcement agency. The School may disclose to the applicant, employee, professional consultant, or volunteer, the dates and places of arrest, the offenses, and the dispositions contained in the respective criminal history record information.

The failure, or refusal, to provide a complete set of fingerprints, or a complete name on request, constitutes good cause for dismissal, or refusal to hire, as applicable, with regard to school employees, professional consultants, and applicants for permanent, temporary, or consultative employment, or volunteer positions whose employment, or potential employment, or volunteer position with the School, involves direct interactions with, or the opportunity to interact and associate with, the children or youth attending the School.

Gov’t Code 411.098(a)-(e)

EMPLOYEE SELF-REPORTS OF CHARGES AND CONVICTIONS

Each TSBVI employee shall report to the Superintendent within seven days of when the employee becomes aware of any arrest, indictment, conviction, no contest or guilty plea, or other adjudication of the employee for any 1) misdemeanor offense contained in Texas Penal Code Title V or Title VI, classified as a crime “against the person” or a crime “against the family”; 2) any felony offense; and 3) any offense whether a misdemeanor or felony which involves either the use of or possession of, or related to, alcohol or any illegal drug.

Failure to make such a report shall be grounds for termination or nonrenewal.

APPEALS

A decision regarding discharge of an employee or refusal to hire an applicant convicted of a felony under Penal Code Title 5, convicted under an offense requiring registration as a sex offender under Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 62, or convicted of an equivalent offense under the laws of another state or federal law if the victim of the offense was 18 years of age or enrolled in a public school, cannot be appealed, Education Code 21.058, but the employee may file a grievance if the employee  believes that the School is using incorrect information about such conviction.

A decision regarding discharge or refusal to hire an employee convicted of a felony other than those listed above may be appealed to the Superintendent.  The Superintendent’s decision regarding discharge of a convicted employee may be appealed to the Board.  The decision of the Superintendent regarding refusal to hire a convicted applicant is final and may not be appealed to the Board.

DEFINITIONS

“Criminal history clearinghouse” (Clearinghouse) means the electronic clearinghouse and subscription service established by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to provide criminal history record information to persons entitled to receive that information and to provide updates to such information.  A person who is the subject of the criminal history record information requested must consent to the release of the information.  Gov’t Code 411.0845(a), (h)

“Criminal history record information” (CHRI) means information collected about a person by a criminal justice agency that consists of identifiable descriptions and notations of arrests, detentions, indictments, information, and other formal criminal charges and their dispositions.  Gov’t Code 411.082(2)

“National criminal history record information” (NCHRI) means criminal history record information obtained from DPS under Government Code Chapter 411, Subchapter F, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) under Government Code 411.087.  Education Code 22.081(2)

“Request for CHRI” is the processing and entry of a person’s complete set of fingerprints in DPS’s tenprint database and the comparison of those prints to DPS’s latent print database and if authorized the entry into FBI’s tenprint and comparison to the FBI’s latent print database. 37 TAC 27.172

PARTICIPATION IN THE CRIMINAL HISTORY CLEARINGHOUSE

The purpose of the Clearinghouse is to:

  1. Provide authorized entities with the Texas and FBI fingerprint-based criminal history results.
  2. Provide authorized entities with subscription and notification service to disseminate updated criminal history information.

TSBVI shall only submit a request for CHRI on a person who has authorized the access of their information.

TSBVI may subscribe to a person in the Clearinghouse, if the entity has the authority to view the record. Entities shall unsubscribe from a person when it no longer has authority to view a record.

TSBVI shall validate their subscriptions in accordance with DPS policies. “Validation” is a process whereby the subscriber reviews a subscription to determine whether they are still authorized to receive CHRI on that individual and updates the subscription accordingly. Validations are required on a yearly basis.

Districts shall maintain compliance with the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Security Policy. Districts shall allow DPS and the FBI to conduct audits of their Clearinghouse accounts to pre vent any unauthorized access, use, or dissemination of the information.

37 TAC 27.171, .172(8), .174

CERTIFIED PERSONS

The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) shall review the NCHRI of a person who is an applicant for or holder of a certificate and who is employed by or is an applicant for employment by the School.  Education Code 22.0831(c)

NONCERTIFIED EMPLOYEES

Applicability

This section applies to a person who is not an applicant for or holder of a certificate from SBEC and who, on or after January 1, 2008, is offered employment by the School or a shared services arrangement, if the employee’s or applicant’s duties are or will be performed on school property or at another location where students are regularly present.

[For noncertified employees of a district or shared services arrangement hired before January 1, 2008, see ALL OTHER EMPLOYEES, below.]:

Information to DPS and TEA

Before or immediately after employing or securing the services of a person subject to this section, the School shall send or ensure that the person sends to DPS information that DPS requires for obtaining NCHRI, which may include fingerprints and photographs.

The school shall provide TEA with the name of a person to whom this section applies.  TEA shall examine the CHRI of the person and notify the school if the person may not be hired or must be discharged under Education Code 22.085.

Employment Pending Review

After the required information is submitted, the person may begin employment, but that employment is conditional upon the review of that person’s CHRI by TEA and must be terminated if TEA makes a determination that the employee or applicant is ineligible for employment.

Criminal History

TSBVI shall obtain all CHRI that relates to a person subject to this section through the Clearinghouse and shall subscribe to the CHRI of that person.  The School may require the person to pay any fees related to obtaining the CHRI.

Education Code 22.0833; 19 TAC 153.1109(d)

SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS

Applicability

This section applies to a person who is a substitute teacher for the School or shared services arrangement.  For purposes of the CHRI review requirements, a “substitute teacher” is a teacher who is on call or on a list of approved substitutes to replace a regular teacher and has no regular or guaranteed hours.  A substitute teacher may be certified or noncertified.

Information to DPS and TEA

The School shall send or ensure that a person to whom this section applies sends to DPS information required for obtaining NCHRI, which may include fingerprints and photographs.

The School shall provide TEA with the name of a person to whom this section applies.  TEA shall examine the CHRI and certification records of the person and notify the School if the person:

  1. May not be hired or must be discharged as provided by Education Code 22.085; or
  2. May not be employed as a substitute teacher because the person’s educator certification has been revoked or is suspended.

Employment Pending Review

After the required information is submitted, the person may begin employment, but that employment is conditional upon the review of that person’s CHRI by TEA and must be terminated if TEA makes a determination that the employee or applicant is ineligible for employment.

Criminal History

The school shall obtain all CHRI that relates to a person to whom this section applies through the Clearinghouse.  The School may require the person to pay any fees related to obtaining the CHRI.

Education Code 22.0836, 19 TAC 153.1101(5), .1111(d)

STUDENT TEACHERS

Applicability

This section applies to a person participating in an internship consisting of student teaching to receive a teaching certificate.

Criminal History

A student teacher may not perform any student teaching until:

  1. The student teacher has provided the School a driver’s license or another form of identification containing the person’s photograph issued by an entity of the United States government; and
  2. The School has obtained from DPS all CHRI that relates to a student teacher. The School may also obtain CHRI relating to a student teacher from any other law enforcement agency, criminal justice agency, or private consumer reporting agency.  The School may require a student teacher to pay any costs related to obtaining the CHRI.

Education Code 22.0835

ALL OTHER EMPLOYEES

TSBVI shall obtain CHRI that relates to a person who is not subject to an NCHRI review under Education Code Chapter 21, Subchapter C and who is an employee of the School or a shared services arrangement, if the employee’s duties are performed on school property or at another location where students are regularly present. 

TSBVI may obtain the CHRI from:

  1. DPS;
  2. A law enforcement or criminal justice agency; or
  3. A private consumer reporting agency [see Consumer Credit Reports, below].

Education Code 22.083(a), (a-1); Gov’t Code 411.097

COORDINATION OF EFFORTS

TEA, SBEC, TSBVI, and a shared services arrangement may coordinate as necessary to ensure that criminal history reviews authorized or required under Education Code Chapter 22, Subchapter C are not unnecessarily duplicated. Education Code 22.0833(h)

EMPLOYMENT PENDING REVIEW

After the School completes the CHRI background check (Texas-based) and has initiated the NCHRI fingerprint background check (nationwide), the person may begin employment that does not include direct care of students, but that employment is conditional upon the review of that person’s NCHRI.

CONFIDENTIALITY OF RECORD

Criminal history record information obtained by the School, including any identification information that could reveal the identity of a person about whom CHRI is requested and information that directly or indirectly indicates or implies involvement of a person in the criminal justice system:

  1. Is for the exclusive use of the School; and
  2. May be disclosed or used by the School only if, and only to the extent, disclosure is authorized or directed by a statute, rule, or order of a court of competent jurisdiction.

For purposes of these confidentiality provisions, “criminal history record” information does not refer to any specific document provided by DPS, but to the information contained, wholly or partly, in a document’s original form or any subsequent form or use.

The School or an individual may not confirm the existence or nonexistence of CHRI to any person who is not eligible to receive the information.

Gov’t Code 411.084

CHRI obtained by the School, in the original form or any subsequent form, may not be released to any person except the individual who is the subject of the information, TEA, or SBEC, or by court order. The CHRI is not subject to disclosure under the Government Code Chapter 552 (Public Information Act).

An employee of TSBVI may request from the School a copy of any CHRI related to that employee that the School has obtained from DPS. The School may charge a fee to provide the information, not to  exceed the actual cost of copying the CHRI.

Gov’t Code 411.097 (d), (f)

DESTRUCTION OF CHRI

TSBVI shall destroy CHRI obtained from DPS on the earlier of:

  1. The date the information is used for the authorized purpose; or
  2. The first anniversary of the date the information was originally obtained.

Gov’t Code 411.097(d)(3)

CONFIDENTIALITY OF INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM APPLICANT OR EMPLOYEE

The School may not release information collected about a person in order to obtain CHRI, including the person’s name, address, phone number, social security number, driver’s license number, other identification number, and fingerprint records, except:

  1. To comply with Government Code Chapter 22, Subchapter C (criminal records);
  2. By court order; or
  3. With the consent of the person who is the subject of the information.

In addition, the information is not subject to disclosure under Government Code Chapter 522 (Public Information act).

TSBVI shall destroy the information not later than the first anniversary of the date the information is received.

Education Code 22.08391

UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURE OF CHRI

A person commits a Class B misdemeanor if the person knowingly or intentionally:

  1. Obtains CHRI in an unauthorized manner, uses the information for an unauthorized purpose, or discloses the information to a person who is not entitled to the information; or
  2. Violates a DPS rule adopted under Government Code Chapter 411, Subchapter F.

A person commits a second degree felony if the person:

  1. Obtains, uses, or discloses CHRI for remuneration or for the promise of remuneration; or
  2. Employs another person to obtain, use, or disclose CHRI for remuneration or for the promise of remuneration.

Gov’t Code 411.085

“Reported criminal history” means information concerning any formal criminal justice system charges and dispositions.  The term includes arrests, detentions, indictments, criminal information, convictions, deferred adjudications, and probations in any state or federal jurisdiction.

Education Code 22.087; 19 TAC 249.14(d)(1), .3(43) [See also DH, DHB]

 Note:  For criminal record provisions regarding volunteers, see GKG. For provisions on employees of entities that contract with the School, see CJA.

REFUSAL TO HIRE CONVICTED APPLICANTS

TSBVI shall refuse to hire an applicant for employment if the School obtains information through a CHRI review that:

  1. The employee or applicant has been convicted of:
  2. A felony under Penal Code Title 5;
  3. An offense requiring registration as a sex offender under Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 62; or
  4. An offense under the laws of another state or federal law that is equivalent to an offense under paragraphs a or b; and at the time the offense occurred, the victim of the offense was under 18 years of age or was enrolled in a public school; or
  5. Any other felony that demonstrates that it is more likely than not that the applicant would be a danger to him or herself, an employee, or student, or a visitor to the campus.

Exception

However, the School is not required to refuse to hire an applicant if the person committed any felony described in the preceding paragraph and: 

  1. The date of the offense is more than 30 years before the date the person’s employment will begin; and
  2. The applicant for employment satisfied all terms of the court order entered on conviction.

Certification to the Commissioner

Each school year, the Superintendent shall certify to the Commissioner that the School has complied with the provisions described above.

Sanctions

SBEC may impose a sanction on an educator who does not refuse to hire an applicant if the educator knows that the applicant had been adjudicated for or convicted of having an inappropriate relationship with a minor in violation of Education Code 21.009(e) knew or should have known, through a criminal history record information review, that or applicant has been convicted of an offense described above.

SBEC may impose a sanction on a superintendent who falsely or inaccurately certified to the commissioner that the district had complied with Education Code 22.085. [See Certification to Commissioner, above]

Consumer Credit Reports

It is not the policy or practice of TSBVI to consider credit reports for employment purposes.  EEOC Dec. 72-1176, 5 FEP 960 (1972) (screening job applicants on basis of credit references has a disproportionate impact on minorities and violates Title VII.) 

Termination for Failure to Disclose

TSBVI may discharge an employee if the School obtains information of the employee’s conviction of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude that the employee did not disclose to SBEC or to the School.  An employee so discharged is considered to have been discharged for misconduct for the purposes of Labor Code 207.044 (unemployment compensation).

Education Code 22.085, 19 TAC 249.15(b)(12)(13) [See DF for Discharge of Convicted Employee]

Adopted:          5/25/05

Amended:        11/18/05, 11/17/06, 3/28/08, 4/3/09, 9/25/09, 4/5/13, 4/4/14, 4/6/18, 1/25/19

Reviewed:

TSBVI employees are required to disclose to their supervisor any situation that creates a potential conflict of interest with proper discharge of assigned duties and Responsibilities or creates a potential conflict of interest with the best interests of TSBVI.  This includes the following:/p>

  • A personal financial interest
  • A business interest
  • Any other obligation or relationship
  • Non-school employment

[See DH, DBDA, BBFA]

Gov’t Code 2155.003

SUBSTANTIAL INTEREST

The Superintendent shall file an affidavit with the Board President disclosing substantial interest, in any business or real property that the Superintendent or any of his or her relatives in the first degree may have.  Any employee who is in a position to affect a financial decision involving any business entity or real property in which the employee has a substantial interest, shall file an affidavit with the Superintendent; however, the employee shall not be required to file an affidavit for the substantial interest of a relative.  [See policy DH, Employee Standards of Conduct for additional information.]

Gov’t Code 553.002

PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES BY PUBLIC SERVANTS - STATE LAW

"Public servant," means a person elected, selected, appointed, employed, or otherwise designated as an officer, employee, or agent of government, even if the person has not yet qualified for office or assumed his or her duties.  Penal Code 1.07(a)(41)(A),(E)

Bribery

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.

"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), .02

Illegal Gifts

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 TSBVI, unless a statutory exception applies. Penal Code 36.08(d)(i)

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:
    • The benefit and the source of any benefit in excess of $50 is reported in the statement; and
    • 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 non-reimbursable 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  [See also Tex. Const. Art XVI, Section 41]

Honoraria and Expenses

A public servant commits a Class A misdemeanor offense if the public servant 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 the public servant's 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 the public servant 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 Public Employment

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 public servant's office or employment, or misuse School property, services, personnel, or any other thing of value, that has come into his or her custody or possession by virtue of his or her office or employment. Penal Code 39.02(a)

"Law relating to the public servant's office or employment" 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)

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)

INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS VIOLATIONS - COMMISSIONS

A trustee, administrator or teacher commits an offense if the administrator or teacher receives any commission or rebate on any instructional materials or technological equipment used in the School with which the person is associated.  Education Code 31.152(a)

INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS VIOLATIONS – CONFLICT

A trustee, administrator or teacher commits an offense if the person accepts a gift, favor, or service that:

  1. Is given to the person or the person's school;
  2. Might reasonably tend to influence the person in the selection of instructional materials or technological equipment; and
  3. Could not be lawfully purchased with 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 OF FREE INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS

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

HOLDING CIVIL OFFICE

No person shall hold or exercise at the same time more than one civil office of emolument, except for offices listed in the constitutional provision, unless otherwise specifically provided. Tex. Const., Art. XVI, Sec. 40(a); State v. Pirtle, 887 S.W.2d 291 (Tex. Ct. Crim. App. 1994); Atty. Gen. Op. DM-212 (1993)

A position in or membership in the Texas military forces is not considered to be a civil office of emolument.  Gov’t Code 437.203

Employees may not be candidates for an elective office in partisan elections. Individuals who receive all or part of their compensation either directly or indirectly from funds of the State of Texas and who are not state officers shall not be barred from serving as members of the governing bodies of school districts, cities, towns, or other local governmental entities.  Such individuals may not receive a salary for serving as members of such governing bodies, except that a schoolteacher, retired schoolteacher, or retired school administrator may receive compensation for serving as a member of a governing body of a school district, city, town, or local government, including a water district created under Section 59, Article XVI, or Section 52, Article III.

Tex. Const., Art. XVI, Sec. 40(b); Gov’t Code 556.004; Atty. Gen. Op. DM-55 (1991)

CONFLICTS DISCLOSURE STATEMENT

A local government officer shall file a conflicts disclosure statement with respect to a vendor if the vendor enters into a contract with the School or TSBVI is considering entering into a contract with the vendor; and the vendor:

Business Relationship

  1. Has an employment or other business relationship with the government officer or a family member of the officer, and the business relationship results in the officer or family member receiving taxable income, other than investment income that exceeds $2,500 during the 12-month period preceding the date that the officer becomes aware that:
    1. A contract between TSBVI and the vendor has been executed; or
    2. TSBVI is considering entering into a contract with the vendor;

Gift(s)

  1. Has given to the local government officer or a family member of the officer one or more gifts, as defined by law, and the gift or gifts have an aggregate value of more than $100 in the 12-month period preceding the date the officer becomes aware that:
    1. A contract between the School and the vendor has been executed; or
    2. TSBVI is considering entering into a contract with the vendor; or

Family Relationship

  1. Has a family relationship with the local government officer.

A local government officer is not required to file conflicts disclosure statement in relation to a gift accepted by the officer or a family member of the officer if the gift is political contribution as defined by Title 15, Election Code, or food accepted as a guest.

Local Gov’t Code 176.003(a)-(a-1)

Definitions

“Local government officer” means a member of the Board, the Superintendent; or an agent (including an employee) of the School who exercises discretion in the planning, recommending, selecting, or contracting of a vendor.  Local Gov’t Code 176.001(1),(4)

“Gift” means a benefit offered by a person, including food, lodging, transportation, and entertainment accepted as a guest. The term does not include a benefit offered on account of kinship or a personal, professional, or business relationship independent of the official status of the recipient.  Local Gov’t Code 176.001(2-b)

Note:  For additional provisions and definitions relating to conflict disclosure statements, see BBFA (TSBVI), DBDA (TSBVI).

PERSONAL SERVICES PERFORMED BY SUPERINTENDENT

The School’s Superintendent may not receive any financial benefit for personal services performed by the Superintendent for any business entity that conducts or solicits business with the School.  Any financial benefit received by the Superintendent for performing personal services for any other entity, including a school district, open-enrollment charter school, regional education service center, or public or private institution of higher education, must be approved by the Board on a case-by-case basis in an open meeting.  The receipt of reimbursement for a reasonable expense is not considered a financial benefit.  Education Code 11.201(e) 

Note:  See also CBB for requirements when federal funds are involved.

Adopted:         3/7/80

Amended:       10/25/85, 1/26/90, 9/27/90, 11/30/90, 1/21/94, 3/25/94, 11/17/95,5/24/96, 1/24/02, 11/22/02, 1/28/05, 5/25/05, 1/26/07, 11/20/09, 4/5/13, 1/25/19, 11/15/19

Reviewed:       11/6/98

GENERAL PROVISIONS

A person who is legally employed by more than one Texas state agency, or institution of higher education, may not receive benefits from the state in excess of those provided for one full-time employee. The person is subject to the following provisions and must be informed of them before the person becomes employed by more than one agency, or institution.

  1. Separate vacation and sick leave records must be maintained for each employment. When the person terminates from one employment, the person's leave balances that were accrued under that employment may not be transferred to the remaining employment.
  2. The person accrues state service credit for all purposes as if the employee had only one employment.
  3. The total state contribution towards the person's group insurance is limited to the amount specified in the General Appropriations Act for a full-time active employee.
  4. Overtime compensation accrues to an employment independently of every other employment with the following exception. If the person is subject to the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) in an employment, the employing agencies and institutions must ensure that the person is compensated for all combined time worked in excess of 40 hours per week according to the FLSA overtime provisions. The agencies and institutions shall coordinate to determine which agency, or institution, is responsible for ensuring that the employee is properly compensated according to those provisions.
  5. An employing agency or institution may not use multiple employments of an employee within the same agency or institution for the purpose of:  (a) paying the employee for working more than 40 hours in a week instead of earning compensatory time in accordance with state law, or (b) paying the employee a greater salary than is allowed for either of the employee’s positions.
  6. The person must inform the person’s employing state agencies, or institutions of higher education, before accepting an additional employment with another agency, or institution.
  7. The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired will not hire any individual who is already employed by another Texas state agency or institution in a non-exempt position.

Texas Government Code 667.001-667.007

Adopted:         5/8/81

Amended:       11/11/83, 1/21/94, 11/17/95, 9/26/97, 3/26/02, 11/18/16

Reviewed:       4/5/13

 

DEFINITION

In this policy, the term "appoint" includes appointing, confirming the appointment of, and voting to appoint or confirm the appointment of a person.

NEPOTISM PROHIBITED

Except as provided by this policy, 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)

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR

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

SUPERINTENDENT

To the extent a board has delegated final hiring authority to a superintendent to select personnel, the superintendent is a "public official" for purposes of the nepotism laws. Atty. Gen. Op. GA-123 (2003)[See BBFA]

With respect to noncontractual employees [see DC]:

  1. The superintendent is a public official for purposes of the nepotism prohibitions only with respect to a decision made under that delegation of authority; and
  2. Each member of the board remains subject to the nepotism prohibitions with respect to all School employees.

For purposes of this provision, a person hired by the School before September 1, 2007, is considered to have been in continuous employment [see CONTINUOUS EMPLOYMENT, below] and is not prohibited from continuing employment with the School subject to the abstention requirements.

Education Code 11.1513(f)

COMPENSATION OF PROHIBITED EMPLOYEE

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 person if the official knows the person is ineligible. Gov't Code 573.083

CONSANGUINITY

Two persons are related to each other by consanguinity (blood) if one is a descendant of the other or if they share a common ancestor. An adopted child is considered to be a child of the adoptive parents. Gov't Code 573.022

An individual's relatives within the third degree by consanguinity are the individual's:

  1. Parent or child (first degree);
  2. Brother, sister, grandparent, or grandchild (second degree); and
  3. Great-grandparent, great-grandchild, aunt or uncle (who is a sibling of a parent of the person), nephew or niece (who is a child of a brother or sister of the person) (third degree).

Gov't Code 573.023

Half-blood Relatives

There is no distinction under the nepotism statute between half-blood and full-blood relations. Thus, half-blood relationships fall within the same degree as those of the full blood. Atty. Gen. Op. LO-90-30 (1990)

AFFINITY

Two persons are related to each other by affinity if they are married to each other or if the spouse of one of the persons is related by consanguinity to the other person.

The ending of a marriage by divorce or the death of a spouse ends relationships by affinity created by that marriage unless a child of the marriage is living, in which case the marriage is considered to continue as long as a child of that marriage lives. This provision applies to a school board member only until the youngest child of the marriage reaches the age of 21 years.

Gov't Code 573.024

A husband and wife are related to each other in the first degree by affinity. For other relationships, the degree of relationship by affinity is the same as the degree of the underlying relationship by consanguinity. For example, if two persons are related to each other in the second degree by consanguinity, the spouse of one of the persons is related to the other person in the second degree by affinity.

A person's relatives within the second degree by affinity are:

  1. The persons spouse;
  2. Anyone related by consanguinity to the person's spouse within the first or second degree; or
  3. The spouse of anyone related to the person by consanguinity within the first or second degree.

Gov't Code 573.025

EFFECT OF TRUSTEE RESIGNATION

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 trustee's resignation is filled by a successor, the trustee continues to serve and have the duties and powers of office, and a relative within a prohibited degree of relationship is barred from employment. Tex. Const., Art. XVI, Sec. 17; Atty. Gen. Ops. JM-636 (1987), DM-2 (1991), O-6259 (1945)

EXCEPTIONS

Continuous Employment (Grandfather Clause)

The nepotism prohibitions do not apply to the appointment of a person to a position if the person is employed in the position immediately before the election or appointment of the public official to whom the person is related in a prohibited degree and that prior employment is continuous for at least:

  1. Thirty days, if the public official is appointed; or
  2. Six months, if the public official is elected.

Gov't Code 573.062(a)

Retirees

A teacher who has retired from a full-time, certified teacher position has broken his or her employment with the School and does not qualify for the continuous-employment exception to the nepotism laws. Atty. Gen. Op. JC-0442 (2001)

For purposes of calculating the appropriate date for the applicability of the continuous-employment exception, a superintendent with final authority to select personnel is an appointed public official. Atty. Gen. Op. GA-0177 (2004)

Abstention

If an employee continues in a position under this exception, the public official to whom the employee is related in a prohibited degree may not participate in any deliberation or voting on the appointment, reappointment, employment, reemployment, change in status, compensation, or dismissal of the employee, if the action applies only to the employee and is not taken regarding a bona fide class or category of employees. Gov't Code 573.062(b)

A "change in status" includes a reassignment within an organization, whether or not a change in salary level accompanies the reassignment. Atty. Gen. Op. JC-0193 (2000)

For an action to be "taken with respect to a bona fide category of employees," the officeholder's action must be based on objective criteria, which do not allow for the preference or discretion of the officeholder. Atty. Gen. Op. DM-46 (1991)

Substitute Teacher

The nepotism prohibitions do not apply to appointment or employment of a substitute teacher. Gov't Code 573.061

TRADING

A public official may not appoint a person to a position in which the person's services are under the public official's direction or control and that is to be compensated directly or indirectly from public funds or fees of office if:

  1.  
    1. The person is related to another public official within the prohibited degree; and
    2. The appointment would be carried out in whole or in partial consideration for the other public official's appointing a person who is related to the first public official within a prohibited degree.

Gov't Code 573.044

FEDERAL FUNDS

The rules against nepotism apply to employees paid with public funds, regardless of the source of those funds. Thus, the rules apply in the case of a teacher paid with funds from a federal grant. Atty. Gen. L.A. No. 80 (1974)

PENALTIES

An individual who violates the nepotism prohibitions shall be removed from his or her position. Gov't Code 573.081, 573.082.

An individual who violates Government Code 573.041 (Prohibition on Public Officials), 573.062(b) (see CONTINUOUS EMPLOYMENT and ABSTENTION, above), or 573.083 (see COMPENSATION OF PROHIBITED EMPLOYEE) commits an offense involving official misconduct. Gov't Code 573.084

RELATIVES OF SUPERVISORY PERSONNEL

No employee shall be directly, or indirectly, supervised by an individual to whom he, or she, is related by consanguinity within the third degree, or by affinity within the second degree.

Adopted: 7/13/79
Amended: 1/11/80, 5/14/82, 6/29/84, 7/12/85, 10/25/85, 9/26/86, 11/12/87, 1/26/89, 5/28/92, 1/29/93, 1/21/94, 3/25/94, 11/18/94, 11/15/96, 1/30/04, 1/28/05, 1/25/08
Reviewed: 5/31/01, 4/5/13

Adopted: 6/1/89
Amended: 5/28/92
Reviewed: 1/21/94, 11/15/96, 5/31/01

These illustrations depict the relationships that violate the nepotism law.

CONSANGUINITY (BLOOD KINSHIP)

Board member is prospective employee's:

FIRST DEGREE

Parent - Child

SECOND DEGREE

Grandparent - Grandchild - Sister/Brother

THIRD DEGREE

Great Grandparent - Great Grandchild - Aunt/Uncle - Niece/Nephew

AFFINITY (MARRIAGE KINSHIP)

Board member's spouse is the prospective employee.

OR

Board member's spouse is prospective employee's:

OR

Prospective employee's spouse is the Board member's:

FIRST DEGREE

Parent - Child

SECOND DEGREE

Grandparent - Grandchild - Sister/Brother

NOTE: The spouses of two persons related by blood are not, by that fact, related. The affinity chart supposes only one affinity relationship between the Board member and prospective employee through either of their spouses.

Adopted: 6/1/89
Amended: 5/28/92
Reviewed: 1/21/94, 11/15/96, 5/31/01

PERSONS UNDER PROBATIONARY CONTRACTS

Each of the following persons shall be employed under a probationary contract when the person is employed by the School for the first time, or if the person has not been employed by the School for two consecutive years subsequent to August 28, 1967:

  1. Principal
  2. Supervisor
  3. Classroom teacher
  4. Counselor
  5. Other full-time professional employee who is required to hold a certificate issued under Education Code Chapter 21, Subchapter B.

Education Code 21.101, 21.102(a), 30.02; Gov’t Code Chapter 654

Exception

Rehires

A person who previously was employed as a teacher by the School, and after at least a two-year lapse in TSBVI employment returns to TSBVI employment, may be employed under a probationary contract.  Education Code 21.102(a)

Principal or Classroom Teacher

The School may employ a person as a principal or classroom teacher under a term contract if the person has experience as a public school principal or classroom teacher, respectively, regardless of whether the person is being employed by the School for the first time or whether a probationary contract would otherwise be required under Section 21.102.  Education Code 21.101, 21.202(b)

Upon Reassignment

An employee may be employed under a probationary contract if the employee voluntarily accepts an assignment in a new professional capacity that requires a different class of certificate under Education Code Chapter 21, Subchapter B than the class of certificate held by the employee in the professional capacity in which the employee was previously employed. 

This provision does not apply to an employee who is returned by TSBVI to a professional capacity in which the employee was employed by TSBVI before the School employed the employee in the new

professional capacity.  The employee is entitled to be employed in the original professional capacity under the same contractual status as the status held by the employee during the previous employment by TSBVI in that capacity.

Education Code 21.102(a-1)  [See 19 TAC 230.33 for list of certificate classes]

TERM OF CONTRACT

A probationary contract may not be for a term exceeding one school year.

PROBATIONARY PERIOD

The probationary contract period for persons required to be employed under a probationary contract shall be for a total of three consecutive school years, except that the probationary period shall be one year for a person who has been employed as a teacher in public education for at least five of the eight years preceding employment by the School.

EXCEPTION

A probationary contract period may be extended beyond the third consecutive year of employment if, during the third year of the probationary period, the Board determines that it is doubtful whether a term contract should be given. If the Board makes such a determination, the School may make a probationary contract for a term ending with the fourth consecutive school year.

Education Code 21.102

Adopted:         11/17/95

Amended:       5/24/96, 1/28/00, 1/28/05, 4/5/13, 11/15/19

Reviewed:

DCB (TSBVI) - EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES: TERM CONTRACTS

ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEES for term contracts

In this policy, "teacher" means a principal, supervisor, classroom teacher, librarian, counselor, or other full-time professional who is required to hold a certificate issued under Education Code Subchapter B, Chapter 21, except the term does not include a superintendent, or any employee who does not provide direct and regular services to students at the School. Each teacher shall be employed under a term contract as provided by Education Code Subchapter E, Chapter 21, except for those who are employed under full-time probationary contracts as provided by Policy DCA.

Education Code 30.024(a),(b); See Gov’t Code Chapter 654

If the School requires a person, by policy, job description, or contract, to hold a certificate issued under Education Code Chapter 21, Subchapter B, TSBVI is required to employ the person under a term contract as provided by Education Code Chapter 21, Subchapter E.  Fields v. Alief Indep. Sch. Dist., Tex. Comm’r of Educ. Decision No. 006-R10-10-2014 (2015)

REQUIREMENTS

Certificate

A person who desires to teach at TSBVI shall present the person’s certificate for filing with the School before the person’s contract with the Board is binding.  Education Code 21.053(a)

Probationary Contract

Except as provided below, before a term contract may be issued, the person must be employed under a probationary contract.

Exception for principal or classroom teacher

The School may employ a person as a principal or classroom teacher under a term contract if the person has experience as a public school principal or classroom teacher, respectively, regardless of whether the person is being employed by the School for the first time or whether a probationary contract would otherwise be required under Education Code 21.102.

Education Code 21.202(b)

grounds for non-renewal

Except as provided by Education Code 21.352(c), the Board's employment policies, which must include reasons for not renewing a term contract at the end of a school year, must require a written evaluation of each term contract employee at annual or more frequent intervals. Education Code 21.203 [See DFBB and DN SERIES]

CONTRACT TERMS

A term contract shall be in writing and include the terms of employment prescribed by Education Code Chapter 21, Subchapter E. The Board may include other provisions in a one year term contract that are consistent with that subchapter. Each term contract is subject to the approval of the Board.  The Board shall provide each term contract employee with a copy of the employee’s contract.  Education Code 21.204

Duration of Term Contract

Once the probationary period has been completed, the duration of a term contract shall be one school year. Education Code 21.205

PROPERTY INTEREST

There is no property interest in a term contract beyond its term. Education Code 21.204(e)

EMPLOYMENT POLICIES

The School shall place the Board’s employment policies on the TSBVI website.  The Board shall make a copy of the employment policies available for inspection at a reasonable time on request.  On request, the Board shall also provide each term contract employee with a copy of the employment policies.  Education Code 21.204(d)

Adopted:         11/17/95

Amended:       3/22/96, 11/6/98, 3/26/02, 1/28/05, 11/15/19

Reviewed:

CATEGORIES OF NON-CONTRACT EMPLOYEES

The Board authorizes the Superintendent to hire non-contract employees in the following categories:

REGULAR

Regular employees are hired for positions budgeted for a continuous, indefinite duration on a full or part-time, basis.

TEMPORARY

Temporary employees are hired for positions of no longer than six months duration on a full or part-time, basis.

SUBSTITUTE

Substitute employees are hired on an hourly, on-call basis for work to be performed as needed. A substitute employee who works in a full-, or part-time, position for one continuous month shall be changed from substitute to temporary status.

AT-WILL EMPLOYMENT

The employment-at-will doctrine places no duties on an employer regarding an employee's continued employment, and thus bars contract and tort claims based on the decision to discharge an employee. Sabine Pilot Serv., Inc. v. Hauck, 687 S.W.2d 733 (Tex. 1985)

In Texas, at-will employment is presumed unless shown otherwise. Gonzales v. Galveston Ind. Sch. Dist., 865 F.Supp. 1241 (S.D. Tex. 1994)

All regular, temporary, and substitute non-contract employees are at-will employees whose employment may be terminated at will and without cause, except as otherwise provided by law. Garcia v. Reeves County, Texas, 32F.3d 200 (5th Cir. 1994); Irby v. Sullivan, 737 F.2d 1418 (5th Cir. 1984); Winters v. Houston Chronicle Pub. Co., 795 S.W.2d 723 (Tex. 1990)

The School has no duty to at-will employees regarding continuation of employment. Jones v. Legal Copy, Inc., 846 S.W.2d (Tex. App.--Houston (1st Dist.) 1993)

Exception

Regular, temporary and substitute employees cannot be discharged if the sole reason for the discharge is that the employee refused to perform an illegal act. Sabine Pilot Serv., Inc. v. Hauck, 687 S.W.2d 733

(Tex. 1985) (See DG, DGA, DGB for other exceptions)

RESIGNATION

A noncontract employee may voluntarily relinquish his/her position and leave the employment of TSBVI. The superintendent requests written notice of the employees intention to leave the employment of TSBVI 14 days prior to the effective date of the resignation.

DISMISSAL PROCEDURE

An at-will employment relationship, standing alone without benefit, or recognized exception, triggers no due process requirement nor right. Mott v. Montgomery County, Tex., 882 S.W. 635, 638 (Tex. App.--Beaumont, 1994).

Termination of employment is a condition of work that is a proper subject for the grievance process. Fibreboard Paper Products Corp. v. National Labor Relations Board, 85 S.Ct. 398, 402 (1984); Sayre v. Mullins,681 S.W.2d 25 (Tex. 1984) [See DGBA]

A TSBVI employee whose employment has been terminated may appeal the termination to the Board.

NOTICE TO THE COMMISSIONER

See policy DF regarding circumstances under which a certified paraprofessional employee's dismissal will be reported to the commissioner of education.

Adopted: 11/17/95

Amended: 5/24/96, 5/31/01, 1/28/05

Reviewed: 1/23/98