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Q: I’m a board member and my husband’s niece has applied for a teaching position for next school year. Can the district hire her?    A: Yes, because the applicant is the board member’s niece by marriage, the relation is of the third degree by affinity, and therefore, not governed by the nepotism prohibition found in...
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Q:        I heard that the State Board of Education (SBOE) updated its rules recently regarding contract abandonment. Is it true that an educator can escape penalty if s/he believes they were granted permission to resign?  A:        Yes. The SBOE adopted proposed rules at its January meeting to amend the definition of “good cause” to now...
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Q:        We recently learned that a neighboring school district is under investigation by the Office of Civil Rights for accessibility issues with the school district’s website. One item that was mentioned was closed captioning for video and audio publications. Are school districts required to include closed captioning for board meeting videos published online?  ...
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Q:      As we move closer to the March 1, 2022 primary election and the May 7, 2022 Uniform Election Date, we have received several questions from teachers and other staff members who want to be politically active, but need clarification of the rules. Are there restrictions specific to school district employees when it comes to political...
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Q:        Given last week’s weather forecast, our District decided to close on Friday to avoid having students, employees, and buses on icy roads and bridges. We did not require teachers to work remotely, and no auxiliary staff were required to come in. Is there anything I need to do to ensure that all employees are paid for...
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Q:        Our District has not yet updated our construction procurement documents to reflect changes from the 87th Regular Legislative session. Is this something we need to do?  A:        Yes. Specifically, House Bill 2581 requires school districts to include new information in their procurement solicitations when awarding construction contracts and creates new obligations for transparency to...
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Q:        I hear that the Texas Department of Public Safety is trying to help with the bus driver shortage by waiving requirements pertaining to certain pre-trip vehicle inspection components of the CDL licensing process. Does this mean that a school bus driver obtaining a CDL under this waiver can drive students everywhere, including field trips...
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Q:        Our eighth graders typically take a trip to Washington D.C. over Spring Break. We recently hired a new principal, and she is concerned about liability. Are there legal issues we should be considering for school-sponsored trips where we take students out of state?  A:        Yes. The immunity provided to public school districts...
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Q:        I heard that TEA has updated the staff COVID-19 re-entry procedures and criteria based on new guidance from the CDC. Are the stay-at-home procedures shorter now? A:        Yes. TEA released an updated version of the Public Health Guidance on January 7, 2022, which provides for a much shorter stay-at-home period and clarifies those who...
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Q:        We are getting out for the holidays this week, but are requiring our Director of Maintenance, who is a non-exempt employee, to remain “on call” in case of a facilities emergency (e.g., frozen/burst pipes, break in, etc.) The employee may spend his time freely during the break; however, he must be available to go...
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