Teachers Give School Funding Bill An "F"

By  | 

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)- Kansas teachers give a failing grade to a school funding bill lawmakers sent to the Governor late Sunday night.

The measure grew out of debate over how to comply with a court order to equalize spending between poor and wealthy districts.

About 500 Kansas teachers spent the weekend at the statehouse following the debate. Most are unhappy with a particular policy change within the bill.

Under orders from the Kansas Supreme Court, Kansas Legislators approved a bill that boosts K-12 spending by $129 million.

But it also includes policy reforms for public school teachers.

The most controversial: eliminating what is commonly referred to as tenure. Under a law dating back to 1957, teachers who have been on the job for three or more years are entitled to an administrative due process hearing before they can be terminated.

Those supporting the change say it gives districts the ability to remove under-performing teachers.

But teachers say it raises concerns, and they hope Governor Sam Brownback takes note more than lawmakers did.

"I feel like they didn't listen I feel like there was a hidden agenda. Teachers are very nervous and they are concerned things can happen. His actions would speak much louder if he vetoed this bill," said Richard Bollejack, teacher at Topeka High School.

In a statement released Sunday night, Governor Brownback said the bill, "fully complies with, and indeed exceeds, the requirements of the recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling for funding schools and providing equity."

But House Minority leader Paul Davis, who is challenging Brownback in the Governor's race, said "the Governor's failure to lead on this critical issue left the state with a bill that focuses more on destructive policies than the funding our schools so desperately need."

Even with the bill on its way to the Governor's desk, opponents say they will not give up their fight.

The KNEA is asking teachers and public education supporters to email the Governor with their opinions on these policy changes in this funding bill.