Mo. House passes bill to change teacher dismissal criteria

CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - "Last-in, first-out," could be out as a way to dismiss teachers if districts need to make cuts.

As of now, if a school district needs to reduce its teacher force, it dismisses non-tenured teachers, before those with tenure. The Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill that would change that. It says the decision cannot be based on seniority, years of service, or salary. The teacher's individual performance must count for 70 percent of the decision.

The bill will now go to the Senate.

Cape Girardeau Schools Superintendent Jim Welker, and Jackson Schools Superintendent Ron Anderson both said they don't think this will have a big effect on schools in the area.

Welker and Anderson said whenever districts have had to cut teacher positions, they did so through teacher retirements and resignations.

Welker said he is concerned with the new criteria of basing teacher performance on student performance, if the policy is ever needed.

"Another part of the bill talks about using student performance as part of the criteria, which again, I would be concerned about that, not knowing exactly how that would be used, and mandating that would be part of the criteria again if in a particular school district there may be other factors that play a role in that that would affect student performance and yet would be used in terms of a RIF policy," said Welker.

"That's something that we have to move forward on and do, and have been doing in terms of student learning and probably some other data and some testing kind of things, data pieces coming in to play more and more all the time," said Anderson.

Welker said he also thinks the issue should be a local one. He said he thinks school boards should individually decide the policy on dismissing teachers.

Both Superintendents said they will obviously follow the new state regulations if the bill passes.

You can view a copy of the bill here.

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