Q: Are there restrictions on scheduling itinerant teachers’ planning periods?
Teacher planning periods must be scheduled within the instructional day and cannot be at the beginning or end of the day when students are not present and receiving instruction. When setting the planning period for an itinerant teacher—one who travels to multiple campuses throughout the day—districts must make sure students are receiving instruction on the campus where the planning period occurs.
In 1991, the commissioner of education applied the instructional day to an itinerant teacher who began her workday at one high school and finished her workday at another (Chaffin v. Los Fresnos Indep. Sch. Dist., Tex. Comm’r of Educ. Decision No. 128-R10-1290). The district gave the teacher a planning period at the end of her workday. This time was within the instructional day of the campus on which she began her work day, but after the end of classes on the campus at which she ended her workday. This was a violation of Texas Education Code §21.404, because no students were receiving instruction at the campus at which the teacher was located during her planning period.
Additional guidance on teacher planning periods are addressed in Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Teacher Planning Periods published online in TASB School Law eSource.
April Mabry is an assistant director at TASB HR Services. Send April an email at april.mabry @tasb.org.