Teachers union sues San Antonio ISD, saying it broke the law when letting charter firm take over school

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The Texas State Teachers Association has sued San Antonio ISD and the state's education commissioner, alleging they violated the law when they turned over a struggling elementary campus to a New York charter school operator.

In a suit filed Tuesday in state district court in Austin, the union argues that SAISD and Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath improperly approved a 2018 deal letting New York-based Democracy Prep take over Stewart Elementary School.

In an emailed statement, SAISD said it's confident that the Texas courts will uphold it's handling of the transfer of the elementary school. Morath's office was unavailable for immediate comment.

According to the suit's allegations, the district didn't consult with school employees before allowing the transfer, as required under state law. What's more, TSTA argues that Morath erred in saying the school board complied with the Open Meetings Act when it directed the district’s superintendent to enter talks with Democracy Prep.

“We expect school districts and the education commissioner to obey the law,” said TSTA President Alejandra Lopez, who's a plaintiff in the suit. “The education commissioner is supposed to be the state’s charter regulator, not a charter champion who ignores the rules to expand the growing charter presence in Texas, at the expense of taxpayers.”

The lawsuit asks the court to void Democracy Prep's takeover of the Stewart Elementary and reinstate all union members employed at the school with back pay and benefits.

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