House narrowly passes teacher layoff bill

May 4, 2012

The Missouri House passed legislation yesterday that would bar school administrators from using teacher seniority in layoffs. Under the bill, teachers' performance would need to be the most important factor in those decisions.

Supporters, like majority floor leader Tim Jones, said the bill focuses resources on teacher quality. "This is about rewarding and accelerating and exulting those great teachers," said Jones.

Critics said the legislation is likely to cause anxiety for teachers without improving schools. Representative Joe Aull is a Democrat from Marshall. "If administrators in school districts aren't getting rid of teachers that aren't doing the job, then that's the fault of the administration. The vehicle is in place. It's just not getting done."

House members approved the legislation 83-76, which is just barely more than the minimum votes necessary to approve legislation. The measure now goes to the Senate. Lawmakers have about two weeks to pass bills.