Texas charters achieved a major victory on March 15th when the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) upheld a June 2017 Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) decision dismissing a concerted activity claim by a former employee of Universal Academy on the grounds that the NLRB does not have jurisdiction over Texas public charter schools under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). As a result of this decision, the NLRA does not apply to Texas charter schools and public charter school employees are treated in the same manner as ISD employees for purpose of the NLRA. Click here to read the complete NLRB decision.

Tommy Fuller of the Fuller Law Group represented Universal Academy and successfully argued that charter schools are exempt from the NLRB’s jurisdiction because they qualify as political subdivisions for the purposes of the National Labor Relations Act. Two key factors appear to have persuaded the NLRB on the jurisdictional question: (1) the Texas Commissioner of Education’s ability to reconstitute the governing board of a charter school, including the power to make appointments to the board upon reconstitution; and (2) the power of reconstitution is unreviewable unless arbitrary or clearly erroneous.

This victory for Texas charter schools also provides a pathway for other states to follow regarding the NLRB’s jurisdiction over public charter schools.  On April 5, 2018, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on a NLRA case involving a Louisiana charter school. Last year, TCSA and the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools filed an Amicus Curiae in support of the Louisiana charter school’s claims.  We hope the decision from the NLRB in the Universal Academy case will persuade the Court to rule in favor of exempting Louisiana public charter schools from the NLRB’s jurisdiction and a consistent standard for all charter schools will be applied across the Fifth Circuit.

As always, do not hesitate to contact TCSA Legal for more details about the case or other legal matters important to the charter school movement.

Student Code of Conduct, 3rd Edition

The Student Code of Conduct, 3rd Edition is now available for purchase in the Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA) Quality Portal. The 3rd Edition incorporates changes from the 85th Legislative Session, including David’s Law (SB 179, the anti-bullying bill). Schools interested in the Student Code of Conduct can order it in the Quality Portal, under the Products and Services tab. Previous purchasers will receive a discount on the 3rd Edition.

Personnel Handbook, 2nd Edition

TCSA also updated the Personnel Handbook, which is now available for purchase in the TCSA Quality Portal. The 2nd Edition includes required policies from SB 7, regarding electronic communication policies and impacts on annuities with the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). We also updated the Personnel Handbook to address common charter school human resources questions, such as state leave days, and exempt and nonexempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act,  to name a few. The Personnel Handbook is available to all current Model Policy Subscribers at no additional cost. Non-Model Policy Subscribers can purchase the Personnel Handbook separately in the Quality Portal. Similar to the Student Code of Conduct, previous purchasers of the Personnel Handbook will receive a discount on the 2nd  Edition.

Updated Model Policies

TCSA Legal is working quickly to update the TCSA Model Policies as a result of the changes in law made by the Regular and Special Sessions of the 85th Texas Legislature. The first round of updates will be available in the Quality Portal on Tuesday, September 5th. These updates will include all required policies related to SB 7 (inappropriate relationships); SB 179 (David’s Law;) SB 1398 (special education video and audio surveillance cameras); and SB 1153 (required multi-tiered intervention notices and PEIMS reporting).

As always, do not hesitate to contact Christine Nishimura with questions or for more information regarding the TCSA Model Policy Series.

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