Houston ISD will not be allowed to implement its new teacher evaluation system until mid-September at the earliest after a judge temporarily blocked the policy Thursday morning.

A Harris County judge issued a temporary restraining order preventing the new evaluation system from taking effect at least until after an injunction hearing scheduled for Sept. 11, said Chris Tritico, a lawyer for the Houston Federation of Teachers. The Harris County District Clerk’s online portal shows that a temporary restraining order was issued, but no document had been posted as of early Thursday afternoon.

The HFT, which is HISD’s largest employee union, filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging district leaders violated state laws earlier this month when they approved the new evaluation system. State law requires districts to consult with a districtwide decision-making committee and campus-level committees in developing new evaluation metrics. 

In a legal filing Thursday, lawyers for HISD argued that administrators posted a public notice on the district’s website soliciting input on the new evaluation policies. A document detailing the new policy was publicly available online, lawyers for the district said.

“HFT’s representations to the court are rather remarkable in light of Superintendent Miles’ express requesting for feedback from the (Shared Decision-Making Committee), and in light of HISD’s public dissemination of the new teacher evaluation system — all 87 pages,” HISD’s lawyers wrote.

HFT President Jackie Anderson said the actions do not amount to proper engagement or input.

“Teachers were on vacation and the (feedback committee) does not even function during the summer,” Anderson said.

HISD used the lone state-recommended teacher appraisal system, known as T-TESS, before Miles’ arrival. The new teacher evaluation system was going to be used to help determine teacher’s pay in future school years, according to the district’s plans.

The court will offer no final decision on whether Miles and the board acted illegally until after the September hearing at the earliest.

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Asher Lehrer-Small is a K-12 education reporter for the Houston Landing. He previously spent three years covering schools for The 74 where he was recognized by the Education Writers Association as one...