DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The controversial push to change the leadership structure within the Dallas Independent School District faces its first major legal hurdle on Wednesday. The state’s largest teacher union is taking the proposal to court. And, if Alliance/AFT wins, it could mean big delays for the home rule plan.
The hearing is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday at the George Allen Courthouse in Dallas, in the courtroom of Judge Carl Ginsberg. The judge on Friday issued a temporary restraining order that may stop the home rule process in its tracks.
Alliance/AFT is the biggest teacher association in Texas, and it is trying to stop efforts to make the Dallas ISD a home rule district. In a 63-page lawsuit filed by the union last week, lawyers said that state law requires professionals on a school district advisory committee to be elected, not appointed, as they have been in the Dallas ISD.
Ed Cloutman is the attorney representing Alliance/AFT. He said that the law calls for four teacher representatives on the advisory committee to be elected internally by their peers. That has not happened, according to Cloutman, which is why the union has filed the lawsuit. “It seeks to stop the confirming of the four recommended teacher representatives on the home rule charter commission, not because of the people recommended — it doesn’t speak to them at all — but rather the process of the appointing body, which is to say the district advisory committee,” Cloutman said.
That advisory committee was already in the process of selecting members for the charter commission. Trustees have until next Monday to name the members of the commission. But Cloutman said that the judge could stop the clock on that deadline.
At the hearing on Wednesday, the judge is expected to determine whether or not a temporary injunction will be granted, giving the court time to review Alliance/AFT’s objection to the home rule process. Until the judge makes a ruling, the process is at a standstill.
If the judge does issue a temporary injunction, that would also give the Dallas ISD more time to hold an internal election for those four teachers on the advisory committee.
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