Archive for Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bonner school board reviews USD 204’s tenure process

April 23, 2014

The evening after the governor signed the education finance bill taking away state rights to teacher tenure, USD 204’s school board reviewed its own tenure policy.

Superintendent Dan Brungardt reviewed how the new bill would affect the district Monday at the Board of Education’s regular meeting. The school finance bill signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback included a policy change that would remove teachers' rights to due process and end teacher tenure rights.

“There is a process for them right now,” Brungardt said. “It’s not as defined as the state’s was, but there still is a process if there’s issues.”

Brungardt said USD 204 has a section in its employee contract agreement called tenure that states that new teachers and out-of-state teachers shall be considered probationary employees for three years. Experienced, in-state teachers new to the district are considered probationary for two years.

After they finish the probationary period, the teachers are considered to have district tenure. If the teacher’s students’ performance becomes questionable, may be placed on a one-year probation. If performance does not improve, their contract will not be renewed.

Building administrators cannot fire teachers; only the board can do that. Employees can request a hearing before the board if their contract is recommended for nonrenewal.

Teachers can be immediately dismissed for violating their contract.

USD 204 teachers have not been active as of yet in expressing concerns regarding the new state bill.

Bill Turley, president of the Bonner Springs Kansas National Educators Association, attended Monday’s meeting and said USD 204 teachers didn’t actively protest the bill in Topeka last week because they didn’t want to leave their classes for a day to do so.

He said the disappointment that most teachers have expressed was that the mandate was to pass the funding, and legislators didn’t adequately provide school funding, but rather tacked on things like the removal of due process that didn’t go through committee.

“And now everyone is scrambling to try to figure out what does this mean and how does it affect everybody, and our real focus should be on how are we going to do what’s best for kids and be funded the way the schools needs to be so that one of Kansas’s best resources can be taken care of the way they need to be,” Turley said.

Turley said contract negotiations with the district have been going smoothly in the last year.

“We have a great working relationship, and the approach that both sides take is a quality staff leads to better education for the kids,” he said.

He said he will discuss the district’s process of teacher tenure with KNEA members to determine if any action needs to be taken in response to the state’s bill.

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