Board-Teacher Negotiation Changes Proposed

Board-Teacher Negotiation Changes Proposed

Here is description of a new bill concerning school board negotiations with teacher associations.  KASB is developing testimony for possible hearings this week.  KASB positions are described below:
HB 2085 was introduced by the House
Committee on Commerce, Labor and Economic Development
on Jan. 24 and
referred to that committee.  No hearings
have been scheduled at present.  The bill
would make several changes to the laws dealing with school board negotiations
with teacher associations, and is expected to be highly controversial.
KASB did not request this bill,
but it does contain one change adopted by the KASB Delegate Assembly in
December as part of the “First
in Education” plan
: removing teacher evaluation procedures from the
mandatorily negotiable items under collective bargaining.  This change was identified by the KASB Legislative
Committee and Delegate Assembly as
a priority issue for KASB.
In addition, the bill would also
allow boards to change the length and number of teaching periods without
negotiations, and make it easier for boards to provide different pay for
individual teachers.  Both of these
issues are supported by long-standing KASB policies, but were not included in
this year’s priority goals.  Finally, the
bill appears to make negotiations with teachers optional for boards, which goes
well beyond positions KASB members have adopted.
The bill appears to address
several issues raised by the Governor’s
School Efficiency Task Force report
released last week.  The task force’s sixth recommendation is
“Revise/narrow the Professional Negotiations Act to prevent it from hindering
operational flexibility/resources assignment.” 
This recommendation includes three components: (A) Review tenure (which is
not part of professional negotiations and not included in HB 2085); (B) Replace the salary schedule with a salary range based
upon various criteria; and (C) Narrow the number of mandatorily negotiable
items.
KASB’s legal and labor relations
experts explain the following changes contained in HB 2085:
1.  Evaluation Procedures
The bill proposes removal of professional
employee appraisal procedures from the terms and conditions of professional
service (i.e. mandatorily negotiable). (Pg. 3, Lines 8-9).
KASB Position:  This change
would support the KASB “First in Education” goal that boards should be able to
make changes in teacher evaluation procedures without negotiating those changes
in order to implement new, statewide standards for teacher and administrator
evaluation.  The new standards are
required by the Kansas State Board of Education’s No Child Left Behind
waiver.  KASB believes strengthening
evaluation is critical to improving instruction and raising student
achievement.  KASB also believes teachers
and administrators should have input into the evaluation system outside of the
negotiations process.
2.  Length and Number of Teaching
Periods
The bill proposes to only
include the hours and amounts of work outside of teaching periods to be
included in the terms and conditions of professional service (i.e. mandatorily
negotiable). (Pg. 3, Lines 1-2)  The bill
further clarifies this point by specifically stating the length and number of
teaching periods shall not be included within the meaning of terms and
conditions of professional service and shall not be subject to professional
negotiation. (Pg. 4, Lines 1-4)
KASB Position:  Although not
part of the “First in Education” plan, KASB does have a policy stating
mandatory topics should be limited to compensation, fringe benefits, hours and
amounts of work, leaves, and number of holidays.  In addition the “First in Education”
resolution advocates changes to encourage more efficient use of district
resources to improve student learning.
3.  Exclusive Representation for Individual
Teachers
The bill proposes to remove the
exclusive representative from the PNA by stating that a representative may
represent any of the  professional
employees in the unit at the discretion of each professional employee. (Pg. 4,
Lines 17-20)  The bill states that
professional employees, individually or collectively, are allowed to enter into
an agreement covering terms and conditions of professional service with the
board.  (The bill does not specifically
state they will be entering into the agreements with the board.  This may need to be clarified). (Pg. 4, Lines
23-26)
The bill also states that no
provision of the section shall prohibit a professional employee from
representing themselves in negotiation with the board and no provision of any
agreement between a professional employees’ organization and the board will be
imposed on a professional employee unless the employee is a member of the
organization and the employee does not negotiate on his or her own behalf. (Pg.
5, Lines 21-30)
KASB Position:  Although not
part of the “First in Education” plan, KASB
has a long-standing policy that boards should have the authority to determine
pay based on performance.  However, this
change would appear to go far beyond the issue of “merit” or differential pay
by having boards negotiate entirely separate contracts with individual
teachers, which is not addressed in KASB policies and would raise a number of
practical procedural issues.
4.  Optional Negotiations
The bill proposes to make
negotiations with the professional employees’ organization voluntary instead of
mandatory.  (Pg. 8, Lines 12-16)
KASB Position: This change goes beyond
positions adopted by KASB members, and has not been formally discussed by our
membership.
5.  Other Issues
It should be noted these changes
would generally allow school boards to choose whether to use the new
flexibility granted by the bill.  Boards
would have the option of continuing to negotiate over evaluation procedures and
teaching periods or to engage in negotiations, so board members will have
determine how to vote on these matters.
KASB will continue to analyze
the implications of HB 2085 and
discuss our positions and concerns with legislators and our peer
organizations.  We welcome your questions
and comments.