This is a "CALL TO ACTION!" Our school children, our parents, and our active educators need the assistance of MRTA Members. Please e-mail or call your State Representative BEFORE TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28th and ask him or her to oppose HCS 1740.
A complete report is below for your review. MRTA opposes the blue bold-faced provisions of HCS 1740 below per our 2012 Legislative Platform. Click Here. This is the type of "Christmas Tree" bill where retirement issues could be attached in the Senate. This legislation is destructive to public schools, teachers, and support staff as it will reduce already scarce dollars for public education and teachers resulting in fewer dollars being contributed to our retirement system.
SAMPLE LETTER. Please feel free to use some or all of the verbiage as you see fit.
Dear Representative XXXXXX:
As a retired public school educator, member of MRTA, taxpayer, and voter in your district, I respectfully ask you to oppose and vote NO on HCS 1740 (Dieckhaus). This Legislation contains several very destructive provisions which will hurt our public schools and the teaching profession such as: eliminating tenure, lowering teacher salaries, creating a tax credit voucher which will allow tax dollars to private schools, expands charter schools that have already proven to be ineffective, and expands certain open enrollment provisions that will make public schools harder to manage efficiently.
(ADD A PERSONAL STORY OR COMMENT HERE.)
THANK YOU for your time and attention to this important issue. I look forward to your response and a NO vote.
Below is a summary of HCS 1740.
The House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee approved an HCS version for HB 1740 (Scott Dieckhaus) on Feb. 22 in a contentious executive session.
The bill is on a fast track for consideration and is expected to be taken up for floor debate on February 28th.
1) repeals teacher tenure for all new hires and eliminates use of seniority in reduction in force,
2) repeals the minimum teacher salary for teachers with Master's degrees and ten or more years of teaching,
3) contains a tax-credit style voucher for students of unaccredited districts to attend private schools,
4) adds charter school expansion and accountability similar to HCS/HB 1228 (Tishaura Jones),
5) creates statewide virtual district school and virtual charter school open enrollment,
6) includes provisions allowing accredited districts to establish class-size capacity standards with regard to student transfers from unaccredited districts,
7) contains the provisions of HCS/HB 1174 (Mike Lair) to allow the State Board of Education to hold a hearing and act to revise the governance of a school district when it becomes unaccredited, rather than automatically lapsing the district after two years, and
8) contains the provisions of HCS/HB 1043 (Mike Thomson) regarding distribution of school formula funds when the formula is underfunded.
Rep. Joe Aull attempted to divide the question to allow a separate vote on tenure repeal, but Rep. Dieckhaus would not recognize him to make that motion. Rep. Dieckhaus also denied Rep. Margo McNeil further time to speak to her concerns on the bill when she described the tax credit provision as a voucher.
The committee ultimately approved the HCS without amendment by a 13-9 vote. Reps. Dieckhaus, Cookson, Bahr, Barnes, Burlison, Cierpiot, Funderburk, Leara, McNary, Neth, Schad, Scharnhorst and Stream voted in favor. Reps. Anders, Aull, Fitzwater, (Tishaura) Jones, Lampe, McNeil, Shively, Swinger and Thomson voted against the bill. Reps. Carter and Frederick were not present for the vote.
MRTA opposes the tenure repeal, charter school expansion, virtual school open enrollment and tax credit-style voucher portions of the bill. Special thanks to Otto Fajen, MNEA Legislative Director, for the summary above.