Monday, November 24, 2014

Teacher’s union suing state, governor over due process

By The Herald Staff | 8/11/2014

TOPEKA — Removing due process rights from Kansas teachers as part of an education funding bill is a violation of the state’s constitution, a top Kansas teacher’s union said Monday.

The Kansas National Education Association filed a lawsuit Monday against the state and Gov. Sam Brownback. The suit challenges the Kansas Legislature’s House Bill 2506, an education funding bill, for a provision that strips due process rights from the state’s teachers. The KNEA cited article two, section 16 of the Kansas Constitution that states “No bill shall contain more than one subject,” according to the group.

TOPEKA — Removing due process rights from Kansas teachers as part of an education funding bill is a violation of the state’s constitution, a top Kansas teacher’s union said Monday.

The Kansas National Education Association filed a lawsuit Monday against the state and Gov. Sam Brownback. The suit challenges the Kansas Legislature’s House Bill 2506, an education funding bill, for a provision that strips due process rights from the state’s teachers. The KNEA cited article two, section 16 of the Kansas Constitution that states “No bill shall contain more than one subject,” according to the group.

The teacher’s union said HB 2506, which raised funding for poorer school districts in the state, violates the constitution by “log-rolling” the due process rights provision into the bill.

“KNEA has stood for democracy and fairness for more than 150 years and we cannot in good conscience allow extremists to willfully bypass the constitution without challenge,” Mark Farr, KNEA president, said.

KNEA does not object to the partial restoration of funds the bill provides, the group said, but contends the Legislature and governor went too far.

“KNEA members believe that this is a watershed moment when the governor and his allies in the Legislature are willing to ignore the state constitution with blatant disregard for the consequences of doing so,” the teacher’s union said in a news release.

The governor called the lawsuit an “exercise in labor union politics.”

“Kansas has high-quality, well-funded schools and I signed HB 2506 to keep it that way,” Brownback said Monday. “I am concerned this misdirected lawsuit may cast doubt on, or unwittingly endanger, school funding just as classrooms are convening all across Kansas.”

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