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Due Process About to Dissolve for Kansas Teachers

Veteran Kansas teachers may no longer be given a hearing before they're dismissed, under a policy included in a budget bill awaiting Gov. Sam Brownback's signature.

It's pretty much certain that Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, will sign the bill, which also includes some $120 million for schools—an infusion required under the terms of a state Supreme Court ruling, the Associated Press reports. (For more coverage on changes to Kansas K-12 finance, see my colleague Andrew Ujifusa's recent report.)

Teacher tenure is a complex process that refers both to the granting of continuous employment and the conferral of due process, which means teachers can't be dismissed without cause. The Kansas bill appears to get rid of the latter component, but preserves continuing contracts. (This is a bit different from other states that have eliminated tenure, as in North Carolina.)

It's still possible that local districts could write due-process provisions into their collective bargaining agreements, supporters of the measure say.

The Kansas teachers' unions have protested the bill and rallied at the state capital to prevent it. "The lack of transparency and the punitive measures in the due-process policy amendment of this bill illustrate the very abuse of power and culture of retribution due process was intended to prevent," the union said in a recent statement.

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