Due Process Restoration is Adopted in House Education Committee
It was a contentious debate but by the end of the House Education Committee meeting today, statutory due process for Kansas teachers was adopted. It will now go to the full House for consideration.
While working HB 2578 dealing with bullying policies, Rep. Valdenia Winn (D-Kansas City) moved to amend the contents of HB 2179 into the bill. This was not a “gut and go;” it was an addition. HB 2179 had a hearing last year but Committee Chair Clay Aurand (R-Belleville) adjourned the committee without working the bill. It later passed the full House as an amendment to another bill but was not taken up by the Senate.
Aurand was taken by surprise by the Winn amendment which was seconded by Rep. Mary Martha Good (R-El Dorado). A lot of discussion ensued with opponents of due process trying to stop the amendment through parliamentary maneuvers, none of which worked.
Rep. Steven Crum (D-Haysville) asked Chairman Aurand if he would consider taking up HB 2179 on its own later this week and then holding a vote immediately after on HB 2578. Without saying yes or no, Aurand went on to take a vote on the Winn Amendment. It was adopted on a vote of 9 to 7.
Rep. Willie Dove then offered an amendment to the underlying bullying bill that would further enumerate what district bullying policies should address. The Dove amendment was adopted.
Rep. Jene Vickrey tried offering a motion to pass the original bill (HB 2578) without amendments but was ruled out of order.
HB 2578, bullying policies and teacher due process, was then passed out of committee favorably for passage on a motion by Rep. Melissa Rooker (R-Fairway). It must now be considered by the full House of Representatives.
K-12 Budget Committee Hears from Superintendents – Lots of Uses for Additional Funds
Superintendents from Olathe, El Dorado, and Garden City appeared before the K-12 Budget Committee to fill in the members on how they would use an additional (perhaps) $200 million per year.
Their responses were almost identical despite their geographic differences. First and foremost – money would be used for personnel. All expressed the urgent need to raise teaching salaries but also salaries of licensed support personnel and hourly employees including bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and custodians. The point is they just can’t compete. Personnel costs would also include efforts to hire more counselors, social workers, psychologists, and classroom teachers to reduce class sizes.
Also brought up was the cost of health insurance with one superintendent saying that a beginning teacher would be left with only $2000 per month after paying for her share of the family health insurance premium. Superintendent John Allison of Olathe indicated that the KPERS retirement system for new teachers was a deterrent to recruiting teachers from other states but that the fact that his teachers have due process protections in their contract is a draw.
In summary, all the superintendents knew exactly how to put additional funds to work to improve schools, teaching, and learning.