Out with ‘last in, first out’ – bill would require school districts to negotiate layoff plans
Working in her capacity as chair of the House Education Finance Committee, Rep. Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie) authored a bill regarding school layoff procedures, which passed the House on March 16.
In essence, the bill requires all school districts to have a locally negotiated plan for reducing staff, should budgeting constraints require layoffs. Currently, districts can have such plans, but if they choose not to negotiate them, they are required to fall back on a state statute that mandates use of a seniority-based, “last in, first out” principle.
Loon explained that the bill, which passed the House by a vote of 71-59, would encourage school districts to consider teacher performance, licensure and other factors — and give teacher’s unions a say in the process.
“I do think that seniority is an important factor,” said Loon. “Not only that, but performance, and what kind of training they have. Instead of prescribing that, I just said, ‘Come up with a plan.’”
Loon acknowledged that school districts could still negotiate layoff plans that rely on seniority. A previous version of her bill went further to prescribe what criteria should be used, and explained her thinking process behind paring back the legislation.
“It was really just listening to concerns from people who opposed my legislation,” said Loon.