Thursday, January 17, 2013

Teacher Fairness Bill Reported Out of House Subcommittee

HB 2151 (Bell), referred to as the Teacher Fairness Act, was one of the Governor’s top education priorities this session. Key elements of the bill include extending the probationary period for teachers and streamlining the grievance process. The bill was reported out of the Teachers and Administrative Action subcommittee of the House Education Committee today.

The Governor and the VEA announced today that the VEA is supporting the revised bill. We, on behalf of the VSBA, were heavily involved in drafting the legislation and in negotiating and drafting subsequent revisions. While the version of the bill that was reported by the subcommittee was a compromise, it contains many elements that will be beneficial to school boards. One feature of the amended bill is that it will allow a school board to extend the probationary period for teachers from 3 years to as long as 5 years, which will give school systems additional time to evaluate a teacher and decide whether to extend a continuing contract. The amended bill also streamlines the grievance process for the dismissal of a teacher. It eliminates the time consuming and costly fact-finding panel and it expedites the process so that dismissal cases can be promptly concluded.