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Kansas Union Challenges Tenure-Repeal Law

The Kansas branch of the National Education Association has filed suit against the state, saying lawmakers impermissibly added provisions eliminating teacher tenure to an appropriations bill.

The bill in question removed due process rights from teachers certified to work in school districts. But the union says that the legislation violates the clause of the constitution stating that no bill can contain more than one subject. It's petitioning the Shawnee County district court to strike that section of the budget bill.

"The last-minute insertion of the teacher dismissal provisions into the bill short-circuited the normal legislative processes altogether, precluding any considered debate or deliberation on the provisions," the complaint reads. 

Importantly, the lawsuit's thrust is largely procedural, rather than on the substantive merits of tenure. A similar tactic was used by Louisiana unions to overturn parts of a law revamping teacher tenure and pay. 

The KNEA has criticized other portions of the bill, including one that weakens licensing requirements for teachers of certain subjects, but those are not directly targeted in the lawsuit. 

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