Due process bill may see vote Thursday

A bill restoring pre-2014 teacher due process protections to state law may be scheduled for a vote in the Kansas House on Thursday. 

HB 2578, which concerns school district anti-bullying efforts, was amended by the House Education Committee to also return to state law teacher due process protections that existed in 2014. That law gave Kansas teachers who’d worked three-plus years in the same school district the right to a due process hearing before an independent hearing officer. It was repealed as part of a school finance funding debate in 2014 and Kansas Democrats and teachers’ unions have sought to reinstate the law since then.  

The bill is eligible for action by the full House but has not yet been scheduled for a vote by House leadership, which is controlled by the Republican Party. 

On Wednesday, House Minority Leader Jim Ward, D-Wichita, made a motion to move HB 2578 “above the line” and eligible for a vote by the House on Thursday. That’s the last day for bills to be passed out of their house of origin and remain viable in the 2018 legislative session. Ward said he would withdraw the motion, which could be voted on Thursday morning, if leadership schedules the bill for a vote. Legislative calendars are typically released the evening prior to the next legislative day. 

KASB does not oppose the bullying provisions of HB 2578. The organization opposes the teacher due process language because it gives independent hearing officers the final say in teacher due process proceedings. KASB policy, reaffirmed in December 2017 by the Delegate Assembly, says school boards should be the final arbiter in due process proceedings, subject to constitutional protections. 

Consult KASB’s News Briefs or follow Advocacy staffers @tallman_mark, @leahfliter, @robgilligan or @srothschild1 for the latest legislative updates from the Statehouse. 

 

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