Texas school district threatens consequences for teachers who quit mid-year
PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — Pflugerville ISD is examining the consequences for school district teachers who break contracts mid-year, and it touches a nerve with teachers who are in the process of quitting.
During a regularly scheduled board meeting on January 20, a Pflugerville legislative advocacy committee proposed a list of mitigation strategies to offset teacher shortages and replacement deficits.
A grassroots regional organization would have collaborated on key priorities. While the consequences of breaching the contract have been the highest priority, the board also wants to push the State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) to provide more flexibility in who can enter classrooms.
The district believes that the SBEC should:
- Eliminate surcharges with the Teachers’ Pension System and allow retired teachers an immediate return to work with no pension reduction.
- Look at teacher certifications from other states and allow that certification to flow faster in the state of Texas.
- Allow individuals with a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent to work as substitutes.
- Impose consequences on teachers who break their contracts during the year.
At the January 20 meeting, eight teachers from ISD Pflugerville were called out for leaving their contracts mid-year.
“Being called up was particularly hurtful. The statement that was read made us look like bad people,” former Hendrickson High School teacher Amanda Gass said. “It gave the impression that we didn’t care about the children. This is simply not the case. We would not have done this job for as many years as we have.
The Pflugerville council argued that resignation processes and procedures had not been followed correctly and that teachers had no reason to give up a contract.
“I am making a motion that Pflugerville ISD refuse to accept the resignation. I further move to authorize the board to provide notice to the Texas Education Agency of the board’s findings,” Place 5 Trustee Brian Allen said.
Gass spent her entire career at Hendrickson — where she often took on a heavy load teaching three different classes, two of which were AP classes.
“It’s a job that was hard before COVID and has become almost impossible to do well,” Gass said. “I got to the point where I looked at the finances in the Austin area and realized it wasn’t a sustainable job for me anymore.”
Gass quit in late December but left behind videos and online resources to help her students.
“If they couldn’t find someone to cover for me, the kids still had access to all the gear,” Gass said. “Watching the rise of Omicron, it was a good time to go. I watch my friends get sick and it’s really sad.
Gass has moved into a company, but his resignation from Pflugerville ISD is not easy.
“I understand this is a very difficult time and people have to make their own decisions, we will respect that. Going forward we will hold staff accountable and this is causing harm to our students and we cannot accept this. said Jean Mayer Place 6 Trustee.
It’s a tricky situation for many Central Texas teachers looking for their next move.
KXAN’s Kaitlyn Karmout asked Gass if she was worried about the potential consequences of the TEA review.
“Only that I don’t know that I’m done with teaching forever. I’m thinking in the back of my mind that maybe I’ll do something else for a while and when I’m financially stable I can go back to teaching. Who knows what the TEA will do, they have a lot of options,” Gass said.
The Pflugerville Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve the recommendations of the Pflugerville Legislative Defense Committee.