Judge denies Santa Fe ISD plea to jurisdiction in termination case

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau May 27, 2011, 7:49am

GALVESTON - A local state district judge recently denied the Santa Fe Independent School District's plea to the jurisdiction.

SFISD submitted the 19-page plea before Galveston County 405th District Court Judge Wayne Mallia last April 4.

The school district is the target of a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by former administrator Rhonda Falgoust in August 2010.

Falgoust claims the district fired her from her position as assistant principal at Kubacak Elementary School after she exposed an alleged violation made by principal Dr. Lupe Hernandez.

According to the suit, Hernandez instructed the plaintiff to submit the faculty's Professional Development and Appraisal System scores to her and change them prior to their release.

Falgoust, a 26-year veteran in education at the time of her alleged dismissal, says the act was part of a series of retaliatory attacks against her.

When she again refused Hernandez's order to change and falsify the documents and immediately reported the violation, the principal escalated the retaliation by writing a misinformed disciplinary report and transferring her to another campus, the suit says.

The SFISD school board eventually voted in favor of non-renewal of the plaintiff's contract at a May 26, 2010, meeting.

The school district's plea contends that Falgoust failed to allege a viable claim against it under the Texas Whistleblower Act plus failed to make a good faith report to an appropriate law enforcement authority.

Mallia turned the plea down May 9.

Roger, Morris & Grover LLP is representing SFISD.

Case No. 11-cv-2373

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