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Bill Would Limit Collective Bargaining For Teachers

A bill in the House would limit the bargaining rights of teachers in Kansas.

A committee heard from supporters and opponents of the bill Tuesday. Supporters of the measure want administrators to have more flexibility to hire, fire and assign teachers.

The bill would take out some bargaining rights teachers currently have and would limit what can be negotiated by unions. For example, teacher evaluation processes could no longer be part of contract negotiations.

Some lawmakers say we need to look at new ways of recruiting, hiring and evaluating teachers.

“It strikes me that we’re being too rigid within this delivery of education to our students,”  says Rep. Gene Suellentrop, a Wichita Republican. 

Opponents of the bill argue that the current process is working fine, and the bill is an attempt to weaken unions.

“This bill’s unspoken interest is to get rid of collective bargaining as we know it in Kansas, under the guise of ‘let’s be more efficient," says David Schauner of the Kansas National Education Association, a union representing teachers.

The legislation is one of several bills affecting unions that are moving in the Legislature.