2000 Texas Attorney General Reports and Opinions 1 (2000)

handle is hein.sag/sagtx0077 and id is 1 raw text is: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL . STATE OF TEXAS
January 12, 2000
The Honorable Jos6 R. Rodriguez          Opinion No. JC-0 165
El Paso County Attorney
500 East San Antonio, Room 203           Re:  Constitutionality of early exit plan for
El Paso, Texas 79901                     school district employees, and related questions
Dear Mr. Rodriguez:
You ask a number of questions regarding an independent school district's proposed
implementation of an early exit plan for school district employees. In essence, you ask whether
the plan would be valid under Texas law and, if not, what changes would make it valid. While we
conclude that the school district may be able to fashion a plan that meets the district's goals and
complies with state law, we do not determine whether the plan as you have described it is legal in
all respects. As a general rule, a school district has only those powers expressly conferred on it by
law or necessarily implied from powers so conferred. See Harlingen Indep. Sch. Dist. v. C.H. Page
& Bros., 48 S.W.2d 983, 986 (Tex. Comm'n App. 1932, holding approved). A definitive
determination ofwhether the plan you describe is authorized by law would require a thorough review
of the complete details of the entire plan in light of the particuiar school district at issue and the
particular facts surrounding the plan. Such a determination would best be made by a legal advisor
to the district who is in a position to review a proposed plan and fidly analyze the applicable state
and federal laws with the necessary factual information at hand. This office normally does not
construe contracts nor make findings of fact in the opinion process. See Tex. Att'y Gen. Op. Nos.
JC-0152 (1999) at 12; JM-697 (1987) at 7.
You tell us: The board of trustees of an independent school district organized under Texas
law (the District) is considering adoption of a plan whereby one or more employees of the District
meeting certain eligibility requirements and agreeing to participate in the plan would receive certain
payments from the District in the future in exchange for the early exit of the employee
(the Plan). Letter from Honorable Jos6 R. Rodriguez, El Paso County Attorney, to Honorable
John Comyn, Texas Attorney General, at 1 (Apr. 19, 1999) (on file with Opinion Committee)
[hereinafter Request Letter]. To be eligible, an employee must be on active service and have more
than ten total years of employment with the District. Id. The Plan would apply to all District
employees, which are of four types: continuing-contract employees, term-contract employees, one-
year contract employees, and at-will employees. Id. at 1-2.

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