A Due Process Bill? Otherwise a Quiet Week

Jan 22, 2018 by

When is the restoration of due process, not the restoration of due process?

The answer is when it is written in the form it is in House Bill 2483.

Some people mistakenly believe that HB 2483, a bill by Rep. Clay Aurand (R-Belleville), would restore due process or fair dismissal protections to Kansas teachers but it only does so selectively.

Under HB 2483, if you are a teacher who had already earned due process prior to June 30, 2014, AND have been continuously employed by the same school district ever since, you get due process.

If for some reason you changed districts? You do not ever get due process.

If you are a teacher hired since 2014? You do not ever get due process.

If you were teaching prior to the repeal but had not yet earned due process? You do not ever get due process.

If you earned due process prior to the repeal and promise never, ever to leave your current district? You’re the winner! You get and keep your due process.

House Bill 2483 establishes a two-tier teaching profession in Kansas. There are older, veteran teachers that the legislature would deem worthy of due process and then there are new teachers who can never be considered worthy of due process. The message to potential teachers is clear – “you will never be good enough for us.” We can envision the classic grumpy old man sitting on his porch and mumbling about “this generation!”

Our position has never waivered. All teachers must be able to earn due process/fair dismissal protections. We believe that a school district must rigorously evaluate teachers and document their performance in the classroom. If after three years a teacher has been determined to be competent and is offered a fourth year of employment, then that teacher must be given a reason for non-renewal and have the opportunity to have the documentation for that reason reviewed by an impartial third party.

We don’t hold this position just for veteran teachers. We hold this position for ALL teachers.

After a three year probationary period – during which a teacher may be non-renewed for any reason without recourse to an impartial third party – a teacher has the right to be told why he/she is being non-renewed and have the opportunity for impartial third party review.

House Bill 2483 does not restore due process – it lets due process protections for teachers die a slow death. Eventually, as all our veteran, “grandfathered” teachers retire, due process will end entirely. There is no restoration of due process in HB 2483.

The legislature needs to take HB 2483 and amend it so that all teachers once again have the right to earn due process. It is time to right the wrongs of the 2014 Kansas legislature and show Kansas teachers that they are respected and trusted.

HB 2483 will have a hearing in the House Education Committee at 3:30 on Wednesday.

A very quiet week

Every Thursday we get a sneak peek at the upcoming legislative calendar for the next week. Then we look for any additions to the calendar on Friday. We did this as usual last week and found that very few of the committees we follow most closely had prepared agendas. Mostly it was “Meeting on call of the Chair.”

Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee? Meetings on call all week. House K-12 Budget Committee? Meetings on call all week. House Taxation Committee? A report on the state of the Kansas economy on Monday, then on call for the rest of the week. The House and Senate Education Committees will meet the Kansas Teacher of the Year Team on Tuesday. The Senate Committee will also meet to hear about mental health arrangements and career and technical education while the House Committee will hold hearings on HB 2483 (see above) and HB 2485, a school transportation bill calling for students to be transported when there is no safe route to school.

We’ll keep watching the calendar for changes and listening for “called committee meetings,” but it’s looking right now like a relatively quiet week under the dome.