Protect Your Rights by Fixing Proposed Rules on "Financial Exigency"
SB 8 as passed by the legislature last year gave school districts a trump card they can play to override important due-process safeguards for teachers and other educators employed under term, continuing, or probationary contracts. That trump card is called a “declaration of financial exigency”—an assertion that insufficient financial resources exist to meet the district’s contractual obligations, thereby justifying mid-contract terminations. SB 8 also says that educators terminated on the basis of financial exigency no longer have certain procedural protections, such as the right to an independent hearing examiner if they contest their termination.
However, SB 8 does not give school districts a totally free hand to declare financial exigency for any reason they choose. The law directs the commissioner of education to set minimum standards defining the conditions that justify a declaration of financial exigency.
The commissioner has now published proposed minimum standards, and there is an opportunity for public comment on his proposed rules on financial exigency through Monday, January 9.
Texas AFT has prepared comments urging several changes that would strengthen the commissioner’s standards and make sure districts cannot lightly override employee contract safeguards and due process. You can reinforce Texas AFT’s message to the commissioner to strengthen, not weaken, the standards on declaring financial exigency by sending the letter below, along with any other comments you would like to add.