Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: March 9, 2011

Sen. John Ford
Sen. John Ford

Senate approves bill to restore local control for termination of bad teachers

Sen. John Ford has won full Senate approval on a measure to end the cumbersome process now required to terminate a bad teacher—a process that can cost a school district tens of thousands of dollars and several months to resolve.
Senate Bill 1, approved on Wednesday, would end the process known as trial de novo, which currently gives teachers the right to appeal a school board’s decision to district court.

“Good teachers will not be threatened by this bill. Good teachers will have significantly greater protection with this legislation than most Oklahomans have in the private sector,” said Ford, Senate Education Committee Chairman. “The problem now is that school districts can find the process so expensive and time-consuming that it is easier to transfer the bad teacher to a low-performing school where parents are less likely to complain. If anything those are the children who need the very best teachers.”

Ford pointed to news reports about a case that cost Purcell Public Schools close to $80,000 in legal fees and almost half a year to terminate a teacher who was later charged with child molestation.

“There are other examples as well. It is unfair to the students, unfair to the vast majority of good, dedicated teachers, unfair to the parents and unfair to taxpayers who foot the bill for these prolonged challenges,” said Ford, who represents Craig, Nowata and Washington counties. “The local board has the authority to hire teachers—this simply restores their ability to fire bad teachers.”

For more information contact:
Sen. Ford: (405) 521-5634

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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