Teachers union files appeal in mutual-consent lawsuit

The plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging how the Denver Public Schools uses part of the state’s teacher effectiveness law have appealed a judge’s June decision to dismiss the case.

The appeal, which had been expected, was filed late Friday afternoon with the Colorado Court of Appeals.

The case, Masters v. DPS, was filed by five former teachers and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association and claims district officials have misused the mutual-consent provision of the 2010 evaluation law. Plaintiffs argue DPS used the law to improperly fire teachers without due process. The DCTA is supported in the legal effort by the Colorado Education Association.

The challenged provision requires both principal and teacher agreement for placement of a teacher in a school.

Denver District Judge Michael Martinez dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims – and the case – on June 6. (Learn more about the ruling and read the full decision in this Chalkbeat Colorado story.)

A business-oriented education reform group, the Great Teachers and Leaders Coalition, criticized the appeal in a statement issued before the legal document even was filed Friday. “If the union receives a favorable opinion in this appeal, our students, teachers and leaders face a major setback,” according to a quote in the statement from Rep. Carole Murray, R-Castle Rock, a prime sponsor of the 2010 evaluation law.

The coalition and related groups have been persistent critics of the lawsuit, which focuses on the mutual consent portions of the law and doesn’t challenge other requirements of the evaluation system.