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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: May 6, 2013 09:38 AM
From: Representative Tim Krieger
To: All House members
Subject: Reforming Teacher Tenure & Furlough Decisions
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to clarify when it is appropriate for school districts to furlough teachers, ensure that furlough decisions are performance-driven, and reform the way teachers are awarded tenure.

In these tough fiscal times, school districts need clear guidelines for making furlough decisions that protect the interests of students and teachers. The Public School Code is generally regarded as prohibiting a furlough of teachers for budgetary reasons. When furloughs are permitted under the Public School Code, seniority alone dictates which teachers stay and go. This inevitably results in removing some of our best teachers from the classroom. That’s not only unfair to our teachers, but also to our children. My legislation will clarify that the Public School Code allows school districts to furlough teachers when budgets make it absolutely necessary. Most importantly, however, my legislation will require school districts to use teacher performance to guide furlough decisions.

But furloughs aren’t the only difficult staffing issue confronting school districts. Right now, teachers are awarded tenure after completing three years of satisfactory service. My legislation will make five years of satisfactory performance the new benchmark for tenure. These additional years will give teachers more time to hone their skills and rise to a level of professionalism that merits increased job protection. Likewise, school districts will have more performance data at their fingertips after five years when determining whether a teacher has what it takes to help children succeed over the duration of a teacher’s career.

These updates to Pennsylvania’s Public School Code will strengthen the teaching profession and boost student achievement. Last session, PSEA and other groups worked together to make our public schools better by approving a data-driven teacher evaluation system. I hope you’ll join me in continuing that progress.

Introduced as HB1722