LTTS Charter School, Inc. d/b/a Universal Academy Contests NLRB Exercising Jurisdiction over Texas Charter Schools
Irving, Texas – Universal Academy, a Texas public charter school with campuses in Coppell and Irving, received a Complaint from the National Labor Relations Board in which the NLRB asserts jurisdiction to decide employment-related matters at Universal Academy because the NLRB deems Universal Academy to be a “private” school. Universal Academy has responded by pointing out that it is a public school over which NLRB jurisdiction does not extend. The Texas Education Code clearly expresses that charter schools are public schools and part of the public school system.
In briefing filed with the NLRB’s regional office, Universal Academy contests this exercise of jurisdiction because the National Labor Relations Act excludes public employers from its definition of employers over whom the NLRB may assert jurisdiction. The public employer definition extends to non-profit corporations, such as Texas charter schools, when their board members may be appointed or removed by a public official.
In Texas, the Commissioner of Education holds the power to remove and appoint board members of a charter school if it violates any of the host of laws applicable to it. The Commissioner may also revoke the charter of any charter school which fails to meet applicable financial and/or academic standards set by the Commissioner. Courts have long held that entities administered by individuals who are responsible to public officials are exempt from the NLRB’s jurisdiction.
Despite Universal Academy’s protestations that the NLRB does not have jurisdiction to consider its employment matters, the NLRB has set a hearing to take evidence on Universal Academy’s employment matters. Universal Academy vows to take whatever legal steps are deemed necessary to prevail.
Should Universal Academy have to appeal this matter all the way to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, it would certainly not be the first time the Fifth Circuit has reversed the NLRB and chided it for overstepping its jurisdictional bounds.
For more information, contact:
Thomas A. Fuller
General Counsel for Universal Academy