Hundreds of Kansas teachers protest eliminating teacher tenure

Photo courtesy: Paula Ackerman
Photo courtesy: Paula Ackerman

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Kansas educators spent hours at the State Capitol Saturday and into early Sunday morning. Hundreds of teachers protested at the statehouse, filling the gallery in their red T-shirts to protest elements of the school funding bill. They got their way. The House killed the bill in an early Sunday morning vote. It was a bill brokered by House and Senate negotiators and endorsed by Governor Sam Brownback.

Many were upset that a provision demanded by the Senate would eliminate teacher tenure, which educators argue would hurt their due process rights. While some teachers remained behind as the afternoon’s legislative activities wrapped up, the majority of the educators moved over to a planned event at Topeka High School. Many later returned to the Capitol, staying into the morning hours for a vote.

House and senate negotiators reached the deal that would have included several policy provisions sought by the Senate, including eliminating teacher tenure, a tax credit scholarship program and property tax reduction for private school parents. In exchange, the House accepted changes in the math used for allowing districts to raise additional local property taxes. Negotiators say both sides gave in but apparently in the end it wasn’t enough.

Legislative leaders had expressed hope in sending a bill to Governor Sam Brownback this weekend.

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