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Under the Dome - February 27, 2013


WAR ON TEACHERS!

Today's report from the front lines!

The War on Teachers continues with Sub for HB 2027. This bill, proposed and supported by KASB and the Kansas School Superintendents Association is a replacement for the equally offensive HB 2085.

HB 2085 was a horrible piece of legislation that effectively eliminated collective bargaining for teachers. And while the proponents of Sub for HB 2027 will tell you it's better, it is not. Like its predecessor, it essentially wipes out the teacher voice in nearly every aspect of the work day and year.

School boards are empowered to decertify the bargaining agent every two years, binding arbitration is prohibited, the legislature nullifies almost all of your current contract if the bill passes, your superintendent can hand out raises and sweetheart contracts to any teacher he/she likes, and the list of offenses just goes on and on. Read more on the bill with our "In Focus" review by clicking here.

We reported to you yesterday how the bill was crafted in secret meetings behind closed doors, rammed through committee with no hearing, and sent directly to the full House. We asked you to contact your legislators. You did and this morning the bill was pulled from the floor and referred back to committee. Committee Chair Marvin Kleeb called KNEA and asked to talk.

So where is it now?

Kleeb has announced that there will be a hearing on the bill in his committee on March 6. We will be there. But there are problems with that. The committee has already voted to approve the bill. Unanswered is whether they can make changes unless a motion to reconsider their earlier action is adopted. A hearing after the vote is not a hearing.

The bill is still very much alive and still very offensive. We must continue to act on the fact that the committee has already passed the bill.

We also know that there are many individual school board members and superintendents who do not support this bill. They have been calling us to say so and a number of them are ready and willing to help us defeat this legislation.

So here's what we need you to do!

1.   Email your Representative and tell him/her to vote NO on any legislation that limits or repeals collective bargaining for teachers. This would include HB 2085, Sub for HB 2027, and HB 2221. Click here to use KNEA's contact your legislator platform.

2.   In addition, leave a message on his/her office phone with the same message. Click here for a roster of Representatives.

3.   Find and attend a back home legislative forum this weekend. Use our talking points (click here) and get your Representative to commit to supporting teachers by voting NO on any bill that limits of repeals collective bargaining for teachers. This would include HB 2085, Sub for HB 2027, and HB 2221.

4.   Talk to your superintendent. It is time for him/her to get off the fence. Either they support your professional rights or they don't. Ask your superintendent to help by sending a public statement in opposition to HB 2085 and Sub for HB 2027.

5.   Do the same with your school board. The Lawrence School Board is the first to officially adopt a statement in opposition to changes in collective bargaining for teachers. It's time for your school board to get off the fence. Either they support your professional rights or they don't. Ask you school board to issue a public statement in support of collective bargaining.

6.   Finally, spread the word. Get your friends and neighbors on board; your fellow teachers and education support professionals. If teachers lose collective bargaining rights - if teachers lose a voice in their profession - then our schools and all of Kansas with them will begin a long slide into mediocrity.


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