Hearings and Appeals, Texas Education Code § 7.057 Appeals
Pursuant to Tex. Educ. Code § 7.057(a) a person may appeal in writing to the commissioner if the person is aggrieved by the school laws of this state; or actions or decisions of any school district board of trustees that violate the school laws of this state; or a provision of a written employment contract if a violation causes or would cause monetary harm to the employee. This section does not apply to Subchapter G, Chapter 21, or a student disciplinary action under Chapter 37.
Parents, students, or educators that have completed their local ISD grievance process and received the school board’s final decision may file an appeal of the board’s final decision to the Commissioner of Education. Each ISD has its own grievance process. Parties should refer to their local ISD policy for information on the local grievance process.
The petitioner shall file with the Commissioner or the agency's division responsible for hearings and appeals a petition for review within 45 calendar days after the decision, order, or ruling complained of is first communicated to the petitioner. In all cases, when a decision is announced in the presence of the petitioner or the petitioner's representative of record at a hearing, the announced decision shall constitute communication to the petitioner. (Tex. Admin. Code § 157.1049).
Per Tex. Admin. Code § 157.1051 a petition for review shall contain the following in numbered paragraphs:
- A description of the challenged ruling, action, or failure to act complained of;
- The date of the challenged ruling, action, or failure to act;
- A precise description of the action the petitioner wants the commissioner to take on the petitioner's behalf;
- A statement of jurisdiction and the legal basis for the claim;
- The name, mailing address, telephone number of the petitioner's party representative during business hours, and facsimile number, if any; and
- The name, mailing address, and business telephone of the respondent or the respondent's representative, and facsimile number, if any.
The Petition for Review must be filed with TEA’s Division of Hearings & Appeals, by electronic filing system, email to Christina.Eischens@tea.texas.gov, mail or hand delivery to 1701 N. Congress Ave., Austin, Texas 78701 or by facsimile to (512) 475-3662.
Every pleading, plea, motion, or correspondence filed with TEA’s Hearings and Appeals Division shall be served on all parties or the party’s representatives and must contain a certificate of service. (Tex. Admin. Code § 157.1050).
Upon receipt of the Petition for Review the hearings and appeals division will issue an acknowledgment letter providing parties notice that the case has been docketed.
Respondent must file an answer along with the local record within 30 calendar days after receiving notice from the hearings and appeals division that the case has been docketed. (Tex. Admin. Code § 157.1052, § 157.1073(d), (e) and (f)).
Per Tex. Admin. Code 157.1052 the answer shall:
- Specifically admit or deny each allegation in the petition for review, or shall assert that respondent is without sufficient knowledge and information to admit or deny the allegation and shall set forth all affirmative defenses.
- Contain the name of the respondent or the respondent's party representative, the mailing address, telephone number during business hours, and facsimile number, if any.
Upon TEA’s receipt of the answer and local record, the case will be assigned to an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) and the ALJ will set a prehearing telephonic conference. Parties may file a written requests to reschedule the telephonic conference. The request must contain a statement that all parties have been consulted or the reason why all parties were not consulted and if they agree or oppose the request and provide three alternate dates and times for rescheduling the conference. (Tex. Admin. Code § 157.1053(c)).
A Proposal for Decision (“PFD”) will be issued no later than 180 calendar days from the date the Petition for Review was filed. (Tex. Educ. Code § 7.057(b)).
Either party may file exceptions to a proposal for decision no later than 30 calendar days from the date the proposal for decision was issued. Parties may also file replies to the exceptions no later than 50 calendar days from the date of the proposal for decision. All disagreements with the factual findings and legal conclusions of the proposal for decision must be made in the parties' exceptions to the proposal for decision or be waived. (Tex. Admin. Code § 157.1059).
After the time for filing exceptions and replies to exceptions expires, the administrative law judge's proposal for decision will be considered by the commissioner and either adopted or modified. (Tex. Admin. Code § 157.1060). The commissioner’s decision will be issued no later than 240 calendar days from the date the petition for review was filed. The parties to the appeal may agree in writing to extend the decision deadline, by not more than 60 days. (Tex. Educ. Code § 7.057(c)).
Either party aggrieved by the decision of the commissioner may file a motion for rehearing no later than 25 calendar days after the date the commissioner’s decision was signed. A party must file any replies to the motion for rehearing not later than 40 calendar days after the date the decision is signed. Agency action on the motion for rehearing must be taken within 55 calendar days after the date the decision or order that is the subject of the motion is signed. If agency action is not taken within the 55-day period, the motion for rehearing is overruled by operation of law 55 days after the date the decision or order that is the subject of the motion is signed. (Tex. Gov't. Code § 2001.146 & Tex. Admin Code § 157.1061).
Either party may appeal the commissioner’s decision to the district court in Travis County. An appeal must be made by serving the commissioner with citation issued and served in the manner provided by law for civil suits. (Tex. Educ. Code § 7.057(d)).
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.