A teacher filed a grievance with a school district, arguing that his reassignment from athletic director to DAEP teacher constituted an illegal demotion and a breach of his contract. The board of trustees denied the grievance, finding that the reason the teacher had been reassigned was due to a lack of administrator certification, and the teacher filed an appeal with the commissioner of education.
In reviewing the case, the commissioner noted that the teacher was employed by the school district under a two-year term contract. The contract stated that he was employed as a "Certified Administrator" and required that he must maintain certification required by the Texas Education Agency, the State Board for Educator Certification, or the district throughout the term of his contract. The contract also stated that the district had the right to assign or reassign the teacher to positions, duties, or additional duties and make changes in responsibilities at any time during the contract.
When the teacher received a notice of reassignment from the superintendent assigning him to a teaching position at the Disciplinary Alternative Educational Center, the district also notified him that his salary would remain the same for the remainder of the school year but would be reduced in accordance with his assignment for the following school year. The district did not modify the teacher's contract or issue him a new one. The proposed change in salary was a reduction from $93,996 to $58,401.
The commissioner concluded that the reassignment from athletic director to DAEP teacher was a change in professional capacity, and therefore could potentially constitute a breach of contract. However, in this case, the reassignment was allowable because although the teacher held the appropriate certificate for his position as athletic director, he did not hold the certificate required by his contract, which was for a "Certified Administrator." Additionally, the reassignment was not a demotion in violation of the contract because the teacher did not suffer financial harm at the time of the reassignment and was given adequate notice of the reduction in salary for the following year. The commissioner upheld the decision of the school district to deny the grievance.