Hearings & Appeals, Hearings Before an Independent Hearing Examiners
Pursuant to Texas Education Code Subchapter F, Section 21.251 a teacher can request a hearing after receiving notice of the proposed decision to terminate the teacher’s continuing contract at any time; terminate the teacher’s probationary or term contract before the end of the contract period or suspend the teacher without pay.
Educators that received a notice from the school board that their contract has been proposed for termination, non-renewal, or suspension without pay, may request the assignment of an independent hearing examiner with the Commissioner of Education.
To appeal the proposed termination, non-renewal, or suspension without pay, an educator must file a written request for the assignment of an independent hearing examiner along with the notice received from the school board no later than 15 calendar days after the date the educator received the notice. The educator must provide the district with a copy of the request. (Tex. Educ. Code § 21.253). All requests for independent hearing examiners must include a phone number, email address, and mailing address.
Requests must be filed with TEA’s Division of Hearings & Appeals, by electronic filing system https://form.jotform.com/200514538968159, email to Christina.Eischens@tea.texas.gov, mail or hand delivery to 1701 N. Congress Ave., Austin, Texas 78701, or by fax to (512) 475-3662.
A hearing examiner will be assigned to the case not earlier than the 6th business day, after the date on which the commissioner received the request for hearing. (Tex. Educ. Code § 21.254(c)). The division of hearings and appeals will issue a hearing examiner assignment letter to all parties.
If the parties agree on a hearing examiner, the parties shall, before the date the commissioner is permitted to assign a hearing examiner, notify the commissioner in writing of the agreement. The notice must include the name and contact information of the hearing examiner the parties agreed to use. (Tex. Educ. Code § 21.254(e))
If for any reason the parties agree to reject the assignment of a hearing examiner, a rejection must be filed in writing no later than 3 calendar days after the date of assignment. (Tex. Educ. Code § 21.254(d)). Once the case is assigned, the independent hearing examiner will be the main point of contact throughout the proceedings and all filings and communication should be directed to the assigned hearing examiner.
The independent hearing examiner shall complete the hearing and make a written recommendation no later than 60 calendar days after the date the request for hearing was received by TEA. However, parties may agree to extend the written recommendation deadline by not more than 45 calendar days. (Tex. Educ. Code § 21.257).
For more information regarding the conduct of hearings before an independent hearing examiner please refer to Tex. Educ. Code § 21.256.
The school board must hold a board meeting within 20 calendar days after receipt of the independent hearing examiner’s recommendation. The Board shall announce its decision not later than 10 calendar days after the date of the board meeting. (Tex. Educ. Code § 21.258 & § 21.259)
Educators can appeal the Board’s decision to the Commissioner under Tex. Educ. Code Subchapter G, section 21.301.
For questions, please contact Christina Eischens, Office of the General Counsel, Division of Hearings and Appeals at Christina.Eischens@tea.texas.gov or (512) 463-0489.