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Under the Dome - March 7, 2013

Competing "innovative district" bills


Despite being told by Commissioner DeBacker that school districts could be excitingly innovative without waiving a single state law, rule, or regulation and despite being told by the two school districts appearing as proponents on the bill that collective bargaining and other teacher rights should not be waived, both the House and the Senate passed versions of the same bill - the so-called "coalition of innovative districts act" - that will allow 10 school districts to simply opt out of state laws, rules and regulations. 


The two bills - HB 2319 in the House and SB 176 in the Senate - started out as identical bills but the Senate version was amended a little bit and so they are no longer exactly the same. This means that one chamber could concur in the other's version or they could take the two bills to conference and try to work out their differences.


There was an attempt in the House to amend the bill to prohibit the waiving of the collective bargaining, due process, and continuing contract laws but the amendment failed on a vote of 50 to 71. 18 Republicans joined the Democrats in voting to protect teachers! The vote was as follows (Republicans voting YEA are in bold):


Yeas: Alcala, Ballard, Becker, Bollier, Bridges, Burroughs, Campbell, Carlin, Christmann, Clayton, Corbet, Davis, Dillmore, Doll, Finch, Finney, Frownfelter, Grant, Henderson, Henry, Hill, Hineman, Houston, Kuether, Lane, Lusk, Meier, Menghini, Moxley, Pauls, Perry, Proehl, Rooker, Ruiz, Ryckman Sr., Sawyer, Schroeder, Shultz, Sloan, Sloop, Swanson, Tietze, Trimmer, Victors, Ward, Weigel, Whipple, Wilson, Winn, Wolfe Moore.


Nays: Alford, Barker, Bideau, Boldra, Bradford, Bruchman, Brunk, Couture-Lovelady, Carlson, Carpenter, Cassidy, Claeys, Concannon, Crum, DeGraaf, Dierks, Dove, Edwards, Esau, Ewy, Gandhi, Garber, Goico, Gonzalez, Grosserode, Hawkins, Hedke, Hermanson, Hibbard, Highland, Hildabrand, Hoffman, Houser, Howell, Huebert, Hutton, Jennings, Johnson, Jones, Kahrs, Kelley, Kelly, Kinzer, Kleeb, Lunn, Macheers, Mast, McPherson, Meigs, Merrick, Montgomery, O'Brien, Osterman, Peck, Phillips, J. Powell, Read, Rhoades, Rothlisberg, Rubin, Ryckman Jr., Schwab, Schwartz, Siegfreid, Suellentrop, Sutton, Thimesch, Todd, Vickrey, Waymaster, Weber.


Absent or not voting: Edmonds, Peterson, Petty, Seiwert.


The bill was then advanced to final action on a voice vote. The final action vote will take place tomorrow.


The Senate version got amended twice - once by Senator Abrams and again by Senator Fitzgerald. The amendments were handwritten so we cannot yet read them but we understand them to deal with reporting requirements. An amendment by Senator Francisco was rejected.


The Senate advanced the bill and then took a final action vote passing the bill 31 to 70. The vote was as follows:


Yeas: Abrams, Apple, Arpke, Bowers, Bruce, Denning, Donovan, Emler, Faust-Goudeau, Fitzgerald, Holmes, Kerschen, King, Knox, LaTurner, Longbine, Love, Lynn, Masterson, Melcher, O'Donnell, Olson, Ostmeyer, Petersen, Pilcher-Cook, Powell, Pyle, V. Schmidt, Smith, Tyson, Wagle.

Nays: Francisco, Haley, Hawk, Hensley, Holland, Kelly, Wolf.

Absent or Not Voting: McGinn, Pettey.


Senator Kay Wolf, the lone Republican voting NO, had offered an amendment in committee to restore teacher rights and then supported teachers again today by voting NO on the bill. Thanks to the Democrats and thank you Senator Wolf for taking such a strong stand for Kansas teachers!


Hearing to bill to dismantle collective bargaining continues tomorrow


The Hearing on Sub for House Bill 2027 will continue tomorrow at 1:30 in the House Commerce Committee. 


Among the issues in this bill are:

  • Eliminating 25 of the 30 current mandatorily negotiable items from collective bargaining and limiting bargaining to salary and supplemental contract wages, sick leave, personal leave, hours during the 8-hour work day except for class periods, and designation of holidays. Among the items no longer mandatorily negotiable - benefits, voluntary payroll deductions, and wearing apparel.
  • Immediately nullifying all current contract provisions that are not on the new mandatory list.
  • Permitting school districts to discriminate in terms and conditions of work in such as way as to discourage membership in an employee organization (this is now a prohibited practice under law).
  • Removing anyone not licensed by the State Board of Education from bargaining entirely - no bargaining for school nurses, social workers, etc.
  • Allowing school districts to unilaterally establish a new salary schedule.
  • Automatically de-certifying a bargaining agent every two years and requiring a new election.
  • Permitting school districts to grant sweetheart deals to any employee for any reason.


Sub for HB 2027 denies public school educators a voice in their working lives. It is part of the legislature's plan to silence teachers that began with bills to prohibit teachers from engaging in political activities if they collect dues via payroll deduction and is reflected in the two "innovative district" bills voted on today, two other bills to end mandatory collective bargaining for teachers, and a charter school bill that exempts Kansas charter schools from collective bargaining.


Let you Legislators know that Sub for HB 2027 is just plain wrong. Email and phone asking your legislators to oppose any bill that weakens collective bargaining for Kansas teachers.


To send an email, you can use the KNEA "contact your legislator" web portal by clicking here.


You can find you representative's office phone number by clicking here.

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