North Forest defies order to fire teachers

May 1, 2013 by

North Forest has destroyed the lives of too many blacks kids with this type of arrogant behavior and poor teacher quality!

The North Forest school board has defied a state order to fire all its teachers for the upcoming year, continuing its protest of the Texas Education Agency’s decision to have Houston ISD take over the long-troubled district this summer.

A TEA appointee, Doris Delaney, ordered the board during a public meeting Monday night to terminate the teachers’ contracts, but the trustees unanimously refused, voting against the proposed motions or failing to second them.

Debbie Ratcliffe, a spokeswoman for the TEA, said Tuesday that agency officials are pondering their next move but expect to work out a plan to ensure the terminations occur so the Houston Independent School District is not responsible for paying millions of dollars to fulfill the teachers’ contracts.

“It’s really a difficult situation for everybody,” she said. “I have a feeling it’s going to get worked out. But how quickly that happens I don’t know.”

Ratcliffe declined to answer specific questions – including whether TEA Commissioner Michael Williams could simply terminate the contracts without the school board’s vote – because of legal concerns.

Under state law, teachers in any district have to be given notice before the end of the school year if their contracts are not going to be renewed for the following school year.

HISD Superintendent Terry Grier has not promised jobs to the 900 or so North Forest employees – TEA has not ordered him to do so – but he has said he will hold a job fair and those interested can apply to open positions.

Complicating matters, the president of the North Forest teachers’ union, Betty Robinson, said Tuesday that she plans to file appeals on behalf of the teachers she represents if they are fired.

Under state law, teachers can appeal to the TEA to get their jobs back.

With North Forest set for closure, Robinson said she is considering asking the TEA to require HISD to hire her members.

Ratcliffe of the TEA would say only that the North Forest teachers do have appeal rights.

The North Forest trustees, explaining their defiance over the mass firings, said they considered the TEA’s order “awful” and “immoral.”

Community members at the packed meeting seemed to agree, calling out, “Don’t do it. Stand up to them,” according to Sue Davis, a spokeswoman for North Forest ISD.

The North Forest school board has appealed the state’s closure order in an administrative court in Austin and has vowed to keep fighting in other courts.

The Houston Chronicle reported this week that North Forest has spent $595,837 in related legal fees from July 2011 through this March.

Ratcliffe said the TEA is optimistic it will get authority from the U.S. Justice Department to make the closure official July 1.

The federal agency has to sign off because the annexation involves voting rights.

via North Forest defies order to fire teachers – Houston Chronicle.

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