BJCE(LEGAL) - SUPERINTENDENT: SUSPENSION/TERMINATION DURING CONTRACT
Suspension Without Pay
For good cause, as determined by the board, the board may suspend a superintendent without pay for a period not to extend beyond the end of the school year pending discharge or in lieu of termination. Education Code 21.201(1), .211(b)
A superintendent who is not discharged after being suspended without pay pending discharge is entitled to back pay for the period of suspension. Education Code 21.211(c)
The board may terminate a term contract and discharge the superintendent at any time for good cause as determined by the board. Education Code 21.211(a), .212(d)
Before dismissal for good cause, a superintendent shall be given notice of the charges against him or her, an explanation of the district's evidence, and an opportunity to respond. Cleveland Bd. of Educ. v. Loudermill, 470 U.S. 532, 546 (1985)
Hearing on Proposed Suspension or Termination
Education Code Chapter 21, Subchapter F (Hearings before Hearing Examiners) applies if a superintendent requests a hearing after receiving notice of the proposed decision to terminate the superintendent's term contract before the end of the contract period or suspend the superintendent without pay. Education Code 21.251(a)(2)–(3)
The superintendent must file a written request for a hearing under Subchapter F with the commissioner not later than the 15th day after the date the superintendent receives written notice of the proposed action. The superintendent must provide the district with a copy of the request and must provide the commissioner with a copy of the notice. The parties may agree in writing to extend by not more than ten days the deadline for requesting a hearing. Education Code 21.253 [See DFD]
"Severance payment" means any amount paid by a board to or in behalf of a superintendent on early termination of the superintendent's contract that exceeds the amount earned by the superintendent under the contract as of the date of termination, including any amount that exceeds the amount of earned standard salary and benefits that is paid as a condition of early termination of the contract. Payments to a former superintendent who remains employed by a district in another capacity or contracts with a district to provide the district services may be severance payments in whole or in part if the payments are compensation for the early termination of a prior employment agreement. Severance payments include any payment for actual or threatened litigation involving or related to the employment contract. Education Code 11.201(c); 19 TAC 105.1021(a)(1)
Duty to Report
The board that makes a severance payment to a superintendent shall report the terms of the severance payment to the commissioner. Education Code 11.201(c)
A district that makes a payment of any kind to a departing superintendent must file with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) a Superintendent Payment Disclosure Form. No form is required to be filed for a payment already earned and payable under the terms of a terminated employment contract, such as a payment for accrued vacation.
The form must be filed by the 60th day after the district executes the agreement to make the payment or the 60th day after any payment under such an agreement, whichever is sooner. The interim superintendent, new superintendent, or board president is responsible for timely filing the Superintendent Payment Disclosure Form. Filing of the disclosure form is required regardless of whether a district considers a payment to be a severance payment as that term is defined above.
Compliance with the reporting requirements of these provisions is considered part of the district's compliance with required financial accounting practices under Education Code 39.057(a)(4). Failure to comply may result in sanctions as authorized by Education Code 39.057(d) and (e).
A district must enclose with the submitted Superintendent Payment Disclosure Form a copy of the superintendent employment contract and a copy of the termination or severance agreement. A district must provide the commissioner with any information or documentation that the commissioner requests to determine whether a payment to a departing superintendent is a severance payment and whether a district is subject to reductions in Foundation School Program (FSP) funding under 19 Administrative Code 105.1021.
19 TAC 105.1021(b), (d)
Reduction of State Funds
The commissioner shall reduce a district's FSP funds by any amount that the severance payment exceeds one year's salary and benefits under the superintendent's terminated contract. The commissioner will reduce the district's FSP funding for the school year following the school year in which the first payment requiring an FSP reduction is made to the former superintendent. The commissioner also will reduce the district's FSP funding in the school year following each school year that any additional payment requiring an FSP reduction is made to the former superintendent. If a district's liability to the state exceeds the total of the district's estimated payments of FSP funding for the remainder of the school year, the district is subject to reductions in its FSP funding for subsequent school years until the liability has been fully liquidated.
A reduction in FSP funding under these provisions does not affect a district's obligation to comply with all provisions of Education Code Chapter 48, including its obligation under that chapter to provide educational services to special populations.
19 TAC 105.1021(c); Education Code 11.201(c)