Thursday, December 18, 2014

Union says teachers will fight loss of tenure rights

By The Herald Staff | 4/11/2014

TOPEKA — Kansas teachers won’t take the state Legislature’s decision to remove their due process rights without a fight, union leaders said this week.

The Kansas National Education Association, the largest teachers union in the state, said it plans to sue any school district that fires a teacher without due process, according to media reports.

David Schauner, general counsel for the Kansas National Education Association, said the education funding bill — House Bill 2605 — that removed teacher’s due process, or tenure, rights can’t apply retroactively to teachers who already have due process, according to the Wichita Eagle.

“There’s some Kansas Supreme Court language to that effect by virtue of interpretation, and we may end up litigating that question,” Schauner told the Wichita Eagle. “We’re certainly prepared and stand ready, willing and able to do that.”

The Kansas Legislature passed HB 2605 Sunday. The bill aims to restore funding to poor school districts and satisfy a March 7 Kansas Supreme Court ruling. Along with the funding allocations, the bill also removed teacher’s due process tenure rights, which has been in effect since 1957.

Advocates for the bill said the removal would allow schools to dismiss bad teachers, while opponents said the rights exist to allow protection for teachers so they can do their jobs fairly and without fear.

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