Thursday, February 24, 2011

Non-renewal Clause Tweaked by Texas Senate

Here’s the problem.  The biennial budget that the House will vote on near the end of the legislative session in early June comes more than 45 days after Texas school districts are contractually liable to notify their teaching staff whether they will be getting a contract for the next school year or not.

In other words, school districts need to know how many teachers it can afford to pay, but won’t actually know how much they will be getting to pay them until after they issue notifications of non-renewal.

So what do you do? The thought that most people would have, as I would, is plan for the worst case scenario and act accordingly. Then if somehow the budget crisis is less of a crisis than people thought it would be, school districts would be laying off more teachers than they needed to.

But you can’t do anything about the 45 days. That is already in the contract. So here is what the Senate Education Committee came up as a compromise. Currently a teacher has 15 days from getting pink slipped to file for a hearing. Fifteen days to put their case together. The Education Committee refers that period as a “cooling off period.” So here is their idea: give the teacher 30 days to mull things over before they have to file for a hearing.


You know, the only real useful thing about this tweak in the rules is the practicalities of needing more time than you usually have for arranging and then holding these hearings. If what we are all hearing in the news is the case, there could be upwards of 100,000 of these hearings.

But I think the main thing that comes out of this is exactly this: this is their little way of letting the teachers know that they’re working on this.

How comforting.

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