Teachers Association Files Grievance Against the WFISD

The Texas Classroom Teachers Association has now filed a grievance against the WFISD over its District of Innovation plan.

This comes after the board unanimously approved the plan last night.

The association, which some local teachers are members of, claims the district didn't follow state law during the planning stage. Being a District of Innovation  gives the WFISD more local control by providing exemptions from some state regulations.

Last Friday, the WFISD District Advisory Committee unanimously voted to send the  plan to the board of trustees for a vote. But according to the state association, the committee itself violated state law.

The Texas Education Code states that when a district wants to adopt a local innovation plan, two-thirds of the professional staff representatives on the advisory committee  must be classroom teachers.

"In this case, the District Advisory Committee was not put together according to LAW or districts policy," said Director of Legal Services for the Texas Classroom Teachers Association, Dohn Larson. 

According to the WFISD website, there are 12 teachers, six from elementary and six from secondary, on the district advisory committee.

There seems to be discrepancies in  the makeup of the local committee and the state education code about how they are appointed or selected for the committee.

The WFISD website says that each member is elected or selected annually and shall be limited to one term on the committee.

However, the  grievance states that the teachers in the district are supposed to elect the teachers on the committee.

The teachers association is also opposing parts of the  actual plan,  such as giving the district the right to
Waive teacher certification requirements when hiring teachers for the career and tech education center... And those who teach foreign language. But officials with the TCTA say that's unnecessary.

"Section 21.055d1 already allows the district to hire CTE centers who are not certified, but have great professional experience, good, solid licenses in their field, who want to teach," Larson said. "So they don't need to exempt themselves."

The district can now also alter the start date of the school year --- on an annual basis.
Current state law says students cannot be in class before the 4th Monday in August.
WFISD superintendent Michael Kuhrt is aware of possible pushback from parents on the start date.

"We want to make sure that everything we do is up front in the open in the public. There are not hidden agendas, there are not, 'hey we're going to do this now that we have this.' We want to make sure we have everything our students and staff need to be successful," Kuhrt said.

The proposed 2017-2018 calendar has school starting on Thursday, August 17.

You can view the full calendar here.


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