Bill changing panel dealing with teacher termination heads to governor’s desk

School classroom with school desks and blackboard in Japanese high school

IMG_2176Legislation to reform the state’s tribunal system which deals with removing ineffective teachers from schools cleared its final legislative hurdle after passing through the House on Wednesday with a 56-42 vote, sending it to the governor’s desk.

Senate Bill 8, the tribunal reform bill, passed through the Senate the first week of session in January and has been awaiting a hearing in the House committee. It was presented on the House floor Wednesday by Rep. James Tipton.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Steve West, makes changes to the current tribunal structure by ensuring one of the members of the council is an attorney trained in education law.

West told the House Education Committee the bill will help professionalize Kentucky’s tribunal system to help school districts deal with ineffective or insubordinate employees while protecting teachers’ due process. Superintendents are often reluctant to fire or suspend an employee due to the cost, complexity of the process, and likelihood their decision will be overturned by a tribunal.

Senate Bill 8 also limits tribunal decisions to upholding or overturning the decision of the superintendent.

Many testifying on in favor of the legislation have stated there are very few cases in Kentucky that end up in front of a tribunal and added that shows the cases that do end up there are often extremely egregious and need to be handled in a timely and professional manner.

Senate Bill 8 now heads to the governor’s desk for his consideration.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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