Teacher layoff bill set for first Senate test

Published 9:54 am Thursday, March 12, 2015

ST. PAUL — A move to minimize the roll of seniority in teacher layoff decisions is scheduled for its first Senate test.

It’s the first appearance of the measure in the Democratic-controlled chamber this session, where its chances are unclear. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk has said he doesn’t support the push to require that evaluations play a role in the decision to lay off educators when school budgets are tight. A hearing was set for Thursday morning.

Opponents say the bill will lead to costly lawsuits and contract renegotiations. They argue schools have other methods of removing ineffective teachers.

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Republicans passed the bill through the House, which they control, largely on party lines. The bill, which also streamlines teacher licensing for out-of-state candidates, is a GOP priority this year.