Support HB 400? Perhaps, but with two changes.

Posted on May 10, 2011

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A few legislators and other interested parties have engaged me in an email discourse over HB 400. As usual, they have raised great questions and important points. There are truly some very intelligent legislators who are quite thoughtful and listen closely.

I hold Chairman Eissler in high regard and do not put him in the group that is voting for personal reasons. or because they do not like public educators. I find him always willing to listen to everyone–a quality severely lacking in education debates these days. We often disagree, but I always respect him. But I think he is wrong on this bill and should modify it to ensure a strong teaching force in the future.

Now to HB 400.

I think this bill is necessary given the circumstances, but would like to see two changes.

First, I think the ability to furlough teachers, reduce their pay, and take away the hearing examiner should be a temporary measure due to the extreme circumstances this session.

Second, I would like to see the bill require superintendents and associate superintendents to participate in a furlough or pay reduction if teachers in their district have to suffer these options.

As for point number two–thoughtful superintendents who are thinking about how to move their district forward through these trying times have already proclaimed their intention to make sacrifices. See my other post about why this is a smart move for superintendents who care more about teachers and children than about their own pay or future job prospects.

We’ll see what happens with HB 400. There must be a lot of discussion since it keeps getting bumped down the road.But the REAL SHAME is that the GOP leadership would rather sacrifice the future well-being of millions of children and the entire state than make tough decisions and fully fund education.

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