Kan. Teacher's Union Objects To Bill That Limits Bargaining

Mar 1, 2013

KNEA President Karen Godfrey speaking to reporters Thursday.
Credit Stephen Koranda / KPR

The union representing teachers in Kansas says its members were prevented from offering their opinion on a bill that affects unions. The bill would scale back some of the mandatory bargaining rights of teachers.

Currently, the negotiations process between the union and a school district includes lots of items. They are required to negotiate how teachers are evaluated and the process for firing a teacher, among other things.

The Kansas House bill would limit what is required to be negotiated to just a handful of items. It was passed out of committee this week, and the union says they weren’t offered a chance to weigh in.

Kansas National Education Association President Karen Godfrey says the chair of the House commerce committee got input from a group representing school boards, but not the teachers’ union.

She says the bill was written behind closed doors and passed this week without a hearing.

“KNEA is a dissenting voice and in this political world, unfortunately, that we are living in now in Kansas, dissent must be stamped out,” she says.

But the chair of the committee, Marvin Kleeb, an Overland Park Republican, says the bill was passed quickly to meet a legislative deadline. It has now been sent back to the committee and he says there will be a hearing next week.

“They will have the complete opportunity to give their input and their information," he says. "No one has been precluded from anything whatsoever.”

Kleeb says the goal of the bill is giving more flexibility to local school boards in the bargaining process.