Spring 2015

Timeliness of Grievances

This matter involves grievances filed by community members about a school district lease.  The Eanes ISD board of trustees approved a lease of real property owned by the district to a little league group at a properly-noticed public board meeting in 2011.  Subsequently, in 2013, homeowners nearby complained that the use of the property by the little league group was a nuisance because of noise, lights, and traffic.  The district denied the grievance for being untimely filed because the grievance was filed more than 15 days after the lease was entered into.

The community members appealed the board’s decision, and LAF filed a brief with the commissioner in support of Eanes ISD.  The commissioner issued a decision, holding that Eanes ISD incorrectly found that the grievants had failed to timely grieve the lease at issue because the record failed to support a claim that any grievant either knew or should have known about the lease.  The commissioner concluded that although the lease was discussed and voted on at a properly noticed open meeting, the record did not contain substantial evidence to show when any petitioner knew or should have known of the lease.  The commissioner stated that “[i]t [was] not reasonable to posit that every property owner would have known or should have known of the board meeting and the vote.”

Because he concluded that substantial evidence did not support Eanes ISD’s dismissal of the grievance concerning the lease, the claims were remanded to the district to conduct a hearing on the merits.  LAF’s Attorney:  John Janssen, Powell & Leon, L.L.P., Austin.