September 16, 2014

State teacher’s union files suit against new law

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
The state’s largest teacher’s union filed a lawsuit to block a portion of a state law that ended tenure for public teachers.
Specifically, the Kansas National Educator’s Association alleges that the law, passed in the waning days of the 2013 legislative session, violates a section of the Kansas Constitution which prohibits bills from containing more than one subject.
House Bill 2506 granted additional funding to poorer school districts, but the extra funds were tied to other policy provisions, including tenure. Rep. Bill Sutton, who represents Gardner and Edgerton, did not vote on the bill. Rep. Willie Dove, who represents a northern portion of Gardner, supported the measure.
According to a KNEA press release, the union does not object to the boosted school funding. Union members considered the policy amendment to cease tenure provisions an “attack on public education.”
“KNEA has stood for democracy and fairness for more than 150 years,” KNEA President Mark Farr, said. “And we cannot in good conscience allow extremists to willfully bypass the constitution without challenge.”
Gov. Sam Brownback said the lawsuit is an exercise in labor union politics.
“Kansas has high quality, well-funded schools and I signed HB 2506 to keep it that way. I am concerned this misdirected lawsuit may cast doubt on, or unwittingly endanger, school funding just as classrooms are convening all across Kansas.”

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