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Crime and Courts

Kansas Supreme Court To Hear Arguments In Lawsuit Over Teacher Dismissal Policy

J. Stephen Conn
flickr Creative Commons

The state’s largest teachers union will ask a court this week to overturn a legislative change that made it easier to fire teachers. As Stephen Koranda reports, the Kansas National Education Association already lost in a lower court and is now taking its case to the Kansas Supreme Court.

Kansas used to have a due process provision when a teacher was going to be fired. If the teacher had been working more than three years, they had a right to an impartial hearing before being terminated.

Lawmakers eliminated that in 2014. But Marcus Baltzell, with the KNEA, says they didn’t pass the change properly. The group will argue lawmakers violated a rule by putting unrelated topics in the same bill.

“There was a lot of questionable action on the part of the Legislature in terms of how they kind of slipped these policy provisions, one of which was the elimination of due process, into a larger funding piece,” Baltzell says.

Supporters of the change say the old due process law made it too hard to fire a bad teacher. The KNEA says this isn’t about protecting bad teachers, it’s about protecting teachers from being fired for unfair reasons.