MEA supports Senate alternative to House tenure reform

On Wednesday, Sen. Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw) introduced SB 503, an alternative tenure reform proposal to HB 4625-4628, the four-bill package passed by the House. MEA supports this new Senate proposal.

Unlike the House package, MEA supports SB 503 because it is true tenure reform as outlined in our A+ Agenda. The bill addresses the real problem with tenure--the length and cost of the current process to dismiss ineffective tenured teachers. By contrast, the House package does nothing to address these issues, instead focusing on taking away collective bargaining rights from Michigan educators.

SB 503 now goes to the Senate Education Committee for consideration. Today, that committee reported out the House package, making it even more urgent for MEA members to contact senators and urge immediate support for SB 503 instead of HB 4625-4628.

Under this new legislation, tenure decisions would be made via arbitration instead of through the Tenure Commission. As in grievance arbitrations, the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) will receive the demand for arbitration and select an arbitrator. A hearing will be conducted no later than 120 days after the filing of the demand for arbitration, and a decision will be rendered no later than 30 days after the case is submitted. Costs for the proceedings are equally divided between MERC and the school district.

This procedure would significantly reduce the time and money involved in dismissing ineffective teachers -- while still protecting the due process rights of the huge majority of good teachers working every day in Michigan classrooms.

Contact your state senator and urge them to support SB 503 rather than House Bills 4625-4628. It provides a fair dismissal procedure that protects the due process rights of teachers and streamlines the tenure process.