Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is likely to approve a provision that will end teacher tenure, which was added to the court-mandated education funding plan. While it’s clear that signing the anti-tenure proposal into law will turn off voters at the governor’s re-election, Brownback and other Republicans in the legislature have already stated that rescinding the tenure will become law.
Supporters of the new provision state that it will be easier to remove bad educators from the classroom. Brownback has stated that the measure is part of a bigger legislative movement to aid poor school districts and that funding would have to be sacrificed in order to save tenure.
The Kansas Supreme Court gave the state’s legislature until July 1st to enact the new school funding, which doesn’t leave a lot of time to start over if the governor does decide to veto bill because of anti-tenure.
Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said, “We need to continue funding our schools.” She stated that the governor promised to take a “careful look” at the bill’s new provision.
Kansas has had its fair share of school funding problems. In March, the state’s Supreme Court ruled that recession-driven cuts in the past for aid to poor districts created unconstitutional funding holes between those districts and wealthier ones. To reverse the cuts, the state must spend $129 million in the 2014-2015 school year.
Brownback praised the new plan even though it contains unnecessary spending for policy changes and the anti-tenure proposal. The Kansas National Education Association (KNEA) is the state’s largest teachers’ union and has stated that the issue isn’t money.
“Honestly, this is a local control bill,” said Senate Vice President Jeff King. “The impact of this bill has been greatly overblown.” The bills’ supporters state that it is a good thing and that school administrations will be able to improve schools dramatically. However, KNEA disagrees.
Spokesman Marcus Baltzell said that the new changes will bring on a “culture of cover-up, harassment and bullying.”
To kill the provision would require a great amount of effort from Brownback as it cannot be stricken with a line-item veto. He would need to veto the entire bill that would also throw away the other provisions that the state Supreme Court needs by July 1st. Still, Baltzell believes it is better to strike it down and come up with a better solution like a “clean funding bill.”