KASB releases new report on teacher employment

Kansas teachers tend to have fewer advanced degrees but more years of service, according to a new report from the Kansas Association of School Boards. The report also shows districts have fired fewer teachers than in most previous years, despite repeal of a state teacher due process or “tenure” law in 2014. 

The report is based on annual KASB surveys of school districts. Highlights of the report include: 

The percentage of teachers with more than a bachelor’s degree has dropped from over 55 percent in 2013-14 to just over 50 percent in 2017-18. 

The percentage of teachers with 1-3 years of teaching has dropped slightly, from 28 percent in 2014-15 to 26 percent in 2017-18, but is still above the low point of 22 percent in 2012-13. The percentage of teachers with more than ten years of experience has risen slightly, from 40.5 percent in 2014-15 to 42.7 percent in 2017-18. 

Fewer districts eliminated teacher positions this year: 58 districts in 2017-18 compared to a 143 in 2015-16 and 171 in 2010-11. This trend likely reflects the impact of the new school finance law, which provided increased funding for most districts, allowing them to keep more positions. 

However, some districts that had declining enrollment lost funding with expiration of the two-year block grant system, which generally froze funding regardless of enrollment changes.  This could explain why, despite fewer districts reporting positions eliminated, the number of positions eliminated statewide – 662 – was the highest since 937 in 2010-11.  

The Kansas Legislature repealed a teacher due process law in 2014. That law allowed teachers with more than three-years of experience to request a hearing before an independent hearing officer, who made a binding decision on whether the teacher could be fired. However, the number of teachers actually fired or resigning before being fired has been lower than most years when due process law was in effect. 

  • From 2016-17 to 2017-18, 26 districts “non-renewed” an average of 1.9 teachers per district with less than four years’ experience in a district (considered “non-tenured” under the previous due process law). This average is higher than last year but shows a general downward trend from the peak of 3.5 per district reported in 2010-11, and the number of districts reporting these non-renewals last year and this year are the lowest since data collection began in 1995-96. 
  • Ten districts reported that an average of 1.1 teachers per district with more than three years teaching were “non-renewed” in 2016-17; the same as the previous year.  The average number of “tenured” teachers non-renewed for the past four years have been the lowest seen since 200-01. 
  • Five districts reported that they terminated teacher contracts last year, the same number as the year before. That is lowest average and the fewest number of districts reporting terminations since reporting began in 1995-96. 
  • 72 districts reported that an average of 2.4 teachers per district resigned when informed of administrator or Board plans to not offer them a contract for next year. That is the lowest average since 2005-06 and the fewest districts reporting resignations since the collection began in 1995-96. 

“Non-renewal” means a teacher was not given a new contract to teach for the following year at the end of the school year. “Terminated” means the teacher was fired in the middle of the contact year. 

 

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