February 4, 2022: New rules on sanctions for contract abandonment; New endorsements in Election 2022; Ready to be a leader?
Publish Date: February 8, 2022 12:20 pm Author: Texas AFT
SBOE approves amendments to contract abandonment rules
After months of negotiations and several rounds of Texas AFT testimony, the State Board of Education (SBOE) last week gave final approval to revised State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) rules related to contract abandonment and to HB 2519, which allows flexibility when teachers resign 30 to 45 days prior to the first day of instruction.
Under the current rules, teachers who resign with fewer than 45 days of notice prior to the first day of instruction without “good cause” or “mitigating factors,” and without the consent of the school district, are subject to certification sanction by SBEC. Typically, SBEC would issue a one-year suspension for educators in this situation.
Under thenew rules, which go into effect March 3, 2022, SBEC will consider new “mitigating factors” to provide a lower sanction or no sanction at all. These factors are:
An educator has changed to a position requiring a different class of educator certification;
An educator resigned due to working conditions “that reasonably posed an immediate threat of significant physical harm to the educator”; or
An educator experiences a reduction in base pay, excluding stipends, compared to the educator’s base pay for the prior year at the same school district.
Stay tuned for a Texas AFT webinar to discuss in detail what these rules mean for educators.
Rio Grande Valley locals interview SBOE and state House candidates
On Wednesday, our members and leaders from BEST AFT (Brownsville), La Joya AFT, and McAllen AFT interviewed our endorsed candidates at a Facebook Live town hall.
Thomas Garcia, running for State Board of Education District 2, and current SBOE Member Ruben Cortez, running for State House District 37, joined members to talk about the impact of classroom censorship on Texas schools, funding public education in the next legislative session, and making sure that educators are respected with higher pay. Sign up for future events! Respect us and elect us!
Ready to step it up and hone your leadership skills?
Are you ready to take a more active role in your union and make a difference for your schools and profession?
We invite you to attend one of our Regional Leadership Conferences sponsored by Texas AFT’s Bridges Institute. The Bridges Institute is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to providing professional learning opportunities for Texas public school employees. Four conferences will be held throughout the state:
McAllen, February 19
Dallas, February 26
San Antonio, March 5
Houston, April 2
Courses will be offered for members to help them build union power at their worksite. The sessions focus on strategies and tips for organizing—foundational pieces for moving potential members to members, members to activists, and activists to leaders. See the full course lineup and register here.
Election 2022: Get engaged to make a difference in your profession
The March 1 Primary Election begins our fight to elect champions of Texas public schools and to defend our institutions for our educators and kids. We strongly recommend that you vote early, which begins Monday, February 14, and ends on Friday, February 25.
If you are eligible to vote by mail, the deadline to send in your application for a ballot by mail is Friday, February 18. To ensure that the state does not reject your application for a mail-in ballot, you must specify which party’s ballot you need in the primary as well as the runoff (two separate boxes). Also, make sure you add your driver’s license/state ID number AND the last four digits of your Social Security number to this application. Your contact information—including your phone number and email address—must be up to date and accurate on the application. If your ballot application is rejected, state election authorities can call you or email you. If the state can’t contact you regarding inconsistent or missing information on your application, then the application can be rejected. Finally, you, the voter, must complete the mail ballot application and mail it in. You cannot request a ballot for someone else, even if they are legally disabled. For assistance, call this voter protection hotline:844-TX-VOTES (844-898-6837).
On Thursday, we updated our list of public education defenders on our endorsements page. We will be adding updates periodically, so be sure and check back before voting. You can find who represents you currently here.
We also urge you to stay engaged in this year’s elections by volunteering for our endorsed candidates—sending text messages on behalf of candidates, knocking on doors in your community, registering citizens to vote, and even recruiting more members of your community to volunteer.
Join us to learn a new tool for reaching out to your peers and getting them to vote
Take action this coming Monday, don’t wait: Sign up for an orientation on a new educator-to-educator get-out-the-vote tool.