New proposed bill may restrict teachers

TOPEKA (KSNT) – A proposed bill has many K through 12 teachers unhappy in Kansas. It has the potential to limit their collective bargaining with school districts.

The K-12 Student Performance and Efficiency Commission is considering a proposal that would restrict teacher negotiations with school districts to only wages, salaries and work hours.

“It was not proposed by the commission. we’re considering a legislative proposal from the Kansas Association of School Boards that limits the number of mandatory items subject to bargaining,” Dave Trabert with the commission said.

KNEA officials believe these efforts will make it more difficult to attract highly skilled, highly qualified teachers to Kansas.

“We don’t solve this revenue problem I’m going to have larger class sizes, no support services, salary freezes, salary reduction in some cases, benefit issues..why would I come here to teach?” KNEA Spokesman Mark Desetti said.

It’s something that has those who teach future teachers worry too. Many teachers frequently pay for school supplies out of their own pocket. If the proposal becomes law, and salaries become more restrictive, that could reduce their incomes even more.

“Folks have their kids as the number one priority and sometimes that means spending their own money on materials,” Washburn University’s Dr. Donna LaLonde said.

The KNEA says the message the proposed bill is sending is clear.

“It just says to teachers, you have no voice, you are to sit down and shut up and do your job and leave us alone and let us make all the decisions even though you’re the ones in the classroom with those children everyday,” Desetti said.

The Kansas Association of School Boards and the KNEA are scheduled to meet on Wednesday to discuss the proposals which could be presented to state legislators in January.

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