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Mo. House narrowly OKs changes to teacher layoffs

Friday, May 4, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Legislation that would bar seniority from playing a role in Missouri teacher layoffs was narrowly approved Thursday by the state House.

School districts forced to reduce staff because of declining student enrollment, reorganization or financial problems no longer would be banned from laying off a tenured teacher while keeping staff members who have not yet earned tenure protections. Under the bill, teachers' seniority and salaries could not be a consideration when administrators choose which teachers to keep, and performance would need to be the most important factor in those decisions.

Additional consideration would be allowed for special training, certifications or licenses, or for having created school tutoring or enrichment programs. Previous misconduct, criminal conduct or excessive unexcused absences could be held against teachers.

"We are going to dismiss faculty not according to seniority but performance, so that we can keep the best teachers in the classroom" when forced to make cuts, said House Education Committee chairman Scott Dieckhaus, R-Washington, who sponsored the legislation.

Opponents argued the legislation effectively alters how teacher tenure would work in Missouri and could be a first step toward eliminating it. Others expressed concerns that local school officials' decisions would be inhibited by barring them from giving weight to the experience a teacher brings.

The House passed the legislation 83-76, which is just barely more than the minimum needed to approve bills. Passage came after lawmakers had stripped out other provisions, including a new teacher evaluation system and a tenure law change that would have allowed districts to get rid of teachers who do not perform well under that evaluation system.

After calling for the vote Thursday, House leaders spent about 12 minutes working to whip up sufficient support to approve the slimmed-down legislation. Ultimately, it was approved with the help of six Democrats, including Minority Leader Mike Talboy, of Kansas City, who told reporters later that the bill would allow schools to decide between keeping a good teacher and an exceptional one.

Rep. Donna Lichtenegger of Jackson and Rep. Wayne Wallingford of Cape Girardeau voted in favor of the bill.

The bill now goes to the state Senate, with little time remaining before the constitutionally required adjournment of May 18.

School funding, unaccredited school districts and other education issues were among the priorities cited by lawmakers when they began the session. However, many of those issues have become bogged down.

House Majority Leader Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said the teacher layoff measure involves a small change and a possible step toward a broader education overhaul. He said the current school system is saddled with requirements and bureaucracy while student test scores are not improving and some Missouri school districts continue to struggle.

Critics said the legislation is likely to cause anxiety for teachers without improving schools. Rep. Joe Aull said even if the legislation does not make significant changes, it comes from a context that many perceive as hostile to public schools.

"It's an attack on the way public schools operate, an attack on teachers," said Aull, D-Marshall, a former school superintendent.


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Mo. House vote to change teacher layoffs decisions
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The 83-76 roll call by which the Missouri House voted Thursday to approve legislation that would prohibit seniority and salary from being considered when laying off teachers.

Voting "yes" were 77 Republicans and 6 Democrats.

Voting "no" were 28 Republicans, 47 Democrats and 1 Independent.

Not voting were 1 Republican and 3 Democrats.

REPUBLICANS VOTING YES

Sue Allen, Town and Country.

Kurt Bahr, O'Fallon.

Jay Barnes, Jefferson City.

Mike Bernskoetter, Jefferson City.

Ellen Brandom, Sikeston.

Rick Brattin, Harrisonville.

Cloria Brown, St. Louis.

Wanda Brown, Lincoln.

Eric Burlison, Springfield.

Mike Cierpiot, Lee's Summit.

Kathie Conway, St. Charles.

Steve Cookson, Fairdealing.

Stanley Cox, Sedalia.

Gary Cross, Lee's Summit.

Paul Curtman, Pacific.

Charlie Davis, Webb City.

David Day, Dixon.

Scott Dieckhaus, Washington.

John Diehl, St. Louis.

Kevin Elmer, Nixa.

Tom Flanigan, Carthage.

Ward Franz, West Plains.

Gary Fuhr, St. Louis.

Doug Funderburk, St. Peters.

Chuck Gatschenberger, Lake St. Louis.

Don Gosen, Chesterfield.

Jeff Grisamore, Lee's Summit.

Casey Guernsey, Bethany.

Marsha Haefner, St. Louis.

Galen Higdon, St. Joseph.

Dave Hinson, St. Clair.

Lincoln Hough, Springfield.

Jay Houghton, Martinsburg.

Delus Johnson, St. Joseph.

Tim Jones, Eureka.

Caleb Jones, Clarksburg.

Shelley Keeney, Marble Hill.

Glen Klippenstein, Maysville.

Andrew Koenig, Ballwin.

Bart Korman, New Florence.

Mike Lair, Chillicothe.

Bill Lant, Joplin.

Melissa Leach, Springfield.

Mike Leara, St. Louis.

Donna Lichtenegger, Jackson.

Tom Loehner, Koeltztown.

Thomas Long, Battlefield.

Mike McGhee, Odessa.

Cole McNary, Chesterfield.

Myron Neth, Liberty.

Jerry Nolte, Gladstone.

Mark Parkinson, St. Charles.

Craig Redmon, Canton.

Bill Rieboldt, Neosho.

Todd Richardson, Poplar Bluff.

Jeanie Riddle, Mokane.

Lyle Rowland, Cedar Creek.

Don Ruzicka, Mount Vernon.

David Sater, Cassville.

Rodney Schad, Versailles.

Dwight Scharnhorst, High Ridge.

Dave Schatz, Sullivan.

Ron Schieber, Kansas City.

Vicki Schneider, O'Fallon.

Shane Schoeller, Willard.

Lindell Shumake, Hannibal.

Ryan Silvey, Kansas City.

Jason Smith, Salem.

Chrissy Sommer, St. Charles.

Rick Stream, Kirkwood.

Mike Thomson, Maryville.

Noel Torpey, Independence.

Wayne Wallingford, Cape Girardeau.

Bill White, Joplin.

Zachary Wyatt, Green Castle.

Anne Zerr, St. Charles.

Steven Tilley, Perryville.

DEMOCRATS VOTING YES

Michael Brown, Kansas City.

Chris Carter, St. Louis.

Penny Hubbard, St. Louis.

Jamilah Nasheed, St. Louis.

Mike Talboy, Kansas City.

Steve Webb, Florissant.

REPUBLICANS VOTING NO

Randy Asbury, Higbee.

T.J. Berry, Kearney.

John Cauthorn, Mexico.

Sandy Crawford, Buffalo.

Charlie Denison, Springfield.

Tony Dugger, Hartville.

Sue Entlicher, Bolivar.

Barney Fisher, Richards.

Paul Fitzwater, Potosi.

Lyndall Fraker, Marshfield.

Diane Franklin, Camdenton.

Keith Frederick, Rolla.

Kent Hampton, Malden.

Denny Hoskins, Warrensburg.

Mike Kelley, Lamar.

Scott Largent, Clinton.

Brent Lasater, Independence.

Nick Marshall, Parkville.

John McCaherty, High Ridge.

Chris Molendorp, Belton.

Bob Nance, Excelsior Springs.

Don Phillips, Kimberling City.

Darrell Pollock, Lebanon.

Sheila Solon, Blue Springs.

Don Wells, Cabool.

Ray Weter, Nixa.

Paul Wieland, Imperial.

Billy Pat Wright, Dexter.

DEMOCRATS VOTING NO

Ira Anders, Independence.

Bert Atkins, Florissant.

Joe Aull, Marshall.

Linda Black, Bonne Terre.

Susan Carlson, St. Louis.

Ron Casey, Crystal City.

Mike Colona, St. Louis.

Pat Conway, St. Joseph.

Rory Ellinger, St. Louis.

Brandon Ellington, Kansas City.

Joe Fallert, Ste. Genevieve.

Ben Harris, Hillsboro.

Steve Hodges, East Prairie.

Jason Holsman, Kansas City.

Leonard Hughes IV, Kansas City.

Jacob Hummel, St. Louis.

Jason Kander, Kansas City.

Chris Kelly, Columbia.

Jeanne Kirkton, St. Louis.

Michele Kratky, St. Louis.

Sara Lampe, Sringfield.

Karla May, St. Louis.

Gail McCann Beatty, Kansas City.

Tom McDonald, Independence.

Eileen McGeoghegan, St. Ann.

Kevin McManus, Kansas City.

Margo McNeil, Florissant.

Tim Meadows, Imperial.

Genise Montecillo, St. Louis.

Judy Morgan, Kansas City.

Stacey Newman, St. Louis.

Mary Nichols, Maryland Heights.

Jeanette Mott Oxford, St. Louis.

Sharon Pace, St. Louis.

Tommie Pierson, St. Louis.

Paul Quinn, Monroe City.

John Rizzo, Kansas City.

Ed Schieffer, Troy.

Jill Schupp, St. Louis.

Tom Shively, Shelbyville.

Clem Smith, St. Louis.

Churie Spreng, Florissant.

Mary Still, Columbia.

Jay Swearingen, North Kansas City.

Terry Swinger, Caruthersville.

Sylvester Taylor, Florissant.

Rochelle Walton Gray, Florissant.

INDEPENDENTS VOTING NO

Tracy McCreery, St. Louis.

REPUBLICANS NOT VOTING

Jeanie Lauer, Blue Springs.

DEMOCRATS NOT VOTING

Tishaura Jones, St. Louis.

Scott Sifton, St. Louis.

Stephen Webber, Columbia.

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