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Kansas Teachers Union Promises Lawsuit

The largest teachers union in Kansas is promising a legal challenge to part of a controversial education funding law. The legislation includes additional school funding in response to a court ruling, but lawmakers also added policy changes that angered many teachers.

The bill makes it easier to fire teachers in Kansas, by eliminating the guarantee of a due process hearing before a teacher is removed, if the teacher requests it. The KNEA says the provision was added to the bill in an improper manner.

Opponents of the legislation, including KNEA attorney David Schauner, say it allows teachers to be fired for unfair reasons.

"Instead of money being spent in classrooms, money will now be spent in courtrooms by teachers and school districts challenging unfair dismissals," says Schauner.

But supporters of the provision have argued that the changes make it easier to remove bad teachers.

Senate President Susan Wagle said in a statement that effective teachers have a big impact on student outcomes, and lawmakers passed the bill with the welfare of students in mind. The KNEA could file the lawsuit later this month.

As the Kansas News Service managing editor, I help our statewide team of reporters find the important issues and breaking news that impact people statewide. We refine our daily stories to illustrate the issues and events that affect the health, well-being and economic stability of the people of Kansas. Email me at skoranda@kcur.org.
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