Hearings scheduled on teacher due process and busing for safety

The House Education Committee has scheduled hearings on a bill to restore teacher due process procedures for teachers who had “tenure” when the law was repealed in 2015, and a bill requiring districts to provide busing to students living within 2.5 miles from schools in certain circumstances. 

On Wednesday, the committee will hear HB 2483, which would restore the former due process system, allowing a hearing before an independent officer, to any teacher who holds a certificate and been continuously employed as a teacher by the same school district since July 1, 2014 and who would have already obtained tenure as of June 30th, 2014. The teacher must have been continuously employed by the same school district since 2014. 

On the same day as this hearing, the Kansas Supreme Court is to hear oral arguments on whether the Legislature had the constitutional authority to remove due process procedures for teachers who had obtained them under the previous law. 

Last session, the House passed a bill that would have restored the previous due process system to all Kansas teachers after a three-year probationary period. The bill did not receive any action in the Senate. 

KASB adopted a position that the local board, rather than an independent hearing officer, should make the final decision on teacher termination or non-renewal, subject to review by the courts. 

On Thursday, the House Education Committee will hear HB 2485, which would require transportation of students who live within the 2.5 mile distance from the school if there is no “safe pedestrian route” from their residence to the school and the provision of transportation would not increase the cost of providing transportation to students by the school district.  

“Safe pedestrian route” is defined as a route that may be traveled on foot and (1) Each portion of such route has either accessible sidewalks or speed limits for motor vehicles that do not exceed 25 miles per hour; (2) no portion of such route crosses any street with a speed limit for motor vehicles in excess of 25 miles per hour, unless a crossing guard is present at such intersection during the times when students would typically be traveling on such route; and (3) no portion of such route crosses any railroad tracks. 

This amendment applies both to students who attend school within the school district and those students who attend in another school district pursuant to an interdistrict agreement and are transported by the home district for the provision of educational programs.   

To testify on either bill, contact Deborah Bremer, Committee Assistant–785-296-7637. The committee chairman is Rep. Clay Aurand, R-Belleville. 

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