#088-PS-190 -- DOCKET NO. 088-PS

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#088-PS-190
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DOCKET NO. 088-PS-190
TOBY J. O'KEEFE
V.
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BEFORE THE STATE
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COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION
TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCY,
DIVISION OF PROPRIETARY
SCHOOLS AND VETERANS
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EDUCATION
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THE STATE OF TEXAS
DECISION OF THE COMMISSIONER
Statement of the Case
Petitioner appeals the decision of the Texas Education
Agency, Division of Proprietary Schools and Veterans
Education, Respondent, to deny him a representative permit
under the Texas Proprietary Schools Act, Tex. Educ. Code
Ann. +32.00 et seq.
A hearing was held on February 14, 1990, before Maggie
H. Montelongo, the Hearing Officer appointed by the State
Commissioner of Education. Petitioner appeared pro se.
Respondent is represented by Terry J. Johnson, Attorney at
Law, Austin, Texas.
It is hereby ordered that Petitioner's appeal be
denied.
Findings of Fact
After due consideration of the evidence and matters
officially noticed, in my capacity as State Commissioner of
Education, I make the following Findings of Fact:
1. Petitioner, Toby J. O'Keefe, seeks a representative
permit from the Division of Proprietary Schools and Veterans
Education to solicit for American Training Center.
(Record).
2. By letter dated December 16, 1989, Respondent
notified Petitioner that he was being denied a
representative permit pursuant to Tex. Educ. Code Ann. +32.37
(Vernon 1989) because he was not of good reputation and
character. (R. Ex. 1).
3. Under 19 T.A.C.+69.122, good reputation is defined
as a person who does not own or direct a school currently in
violation of the legal requirements; has never owned or
directed a school with habitual violations; or has owned or
directed a school which closed with violations including,
but not limited to, unpaid refunds. Id.
4. It is undisputed that Petitioner O'Keefe owned and
directed American Training Schools from August 1, 1981,
through October 8, 1988. (P. Ex. 1, Record).
5. It is undisputed that Petitioner closed the
American Training Schools in October 8, 1988, without notice
to students, without making arrangements for the completion
of courses by students, without furnishing the names and
addresses of students prevented from completing a course by
the discontinuance to the State Commissioner of Education as
required by 19 T.A.C. +69.127(b)(5) and +69.127(b)(6)(E) and
in violation of Tex. Educ. Code +32.39(d). (R. Ex. 1,
Record).
6. American Training Schools closed owing refunds to
students. (Record).
7. As of February 14, 1990, Petitioner still had not
turned over documents requested by Respondent nor had
Petitioner submitted the lists of students prevented from
completing their courses due to the closing of American
Training Schools, as required by 19 T.A.C. +69.127(b)(5).
Discussion
Petitioner O'Keefe sought to appeal Respondent's denial
of a representative permit for him to solicit for American
Training Center in Dallas, Texas. Petitioner was given due
notice of the statutory violations listed as grounds for the
denial and was also given due notice of the date of hearing.
Despite such notice, Petitioner did not at any time seek to
correct or cure the violations. At hearing, Petitioner did
not deny the accusations against him; asserted the existence
of a master list of students and possession of the necessary
documentation, yet took no initiative to provide such
documents to the State Commissioner of Education; and took
no responsibility for the violations that occurred at
American Training Schools under his ownership and direction.
Indeed, Petitioner's testimony attributed the downfall of
American Training Schools to the economic forces assaulting
the Houston economy; however, the economic factors do not
account or justify Petitioner's failure to properly notify
the State Commissioner of Education of the school's
impending closure nor do they explain Petitioner's failure
to submit a required list of students to the Commissioner
despite Petitioner's acknowledgement that he had the master
list in his possession at home for safekeeping and that such
list is still in his possession. This continued
indifference to statutory requirements, along with
Petitioner's refusal to acknowledge personal accountability,
does not inspire confidence that Petitioner will not
disregard statutory mandates in the future. Petitioner has
failed to establish support for the granting of a
representative permit. Accordingly, it is hereby ordered
that his appeal be denied and that Respondent's denial of a
representative permit be affirmed.
Conclusions of Law
After due consideration of the record, matters
officially noticed, and the foregoing Findings of Fact, in
my capacity as State Commissioner of Education, I make the
following Conclusions of Law:
1. Petitioner has violated Tex. Educ. Code Ann. +32.39
(Vernon 1989); 19 T.A.C.++69.127(b)(5), 69.127(b)(6)(e) and
remains in violation of such statutes.
2. Petitioner is ineligible for a representative
permit to solicit for the American Training Center located
in Dallas, Texas.
2. Petitioner's appeal is to be denied and
Respondent's denial of a representative permit is affirmed.
O R D E R
After due consideration of the record, matters
officially noticed, and the foregoing Findings of Fact and
Conclusions of Law, in my capacity as State Commissioner of
Education, it is hereby
ORDERED that Petitioner's appeal be, and is hereby,
DENIED, and Respondent's denial of a representative permit
is hereby AFFIRMED.
SIGNED AND ISSUED this ______ day of ________________,
1990.
______________________________
W. N. KIRBY
COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION
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