JEFFERSON CITY | A bill allowing an immediate state takeover of the unaccredited Kansas City school district cleared the Missouri Senate Wednesday, putting it one vote in the House away from the governor’s desk.
But that vote won’t happen until the Senate passes a controversial bill barring seniority from playing a role in teacher layoffs, according to House Education Committee Chairman Scott Dieckhaus.
The stand off puts the success of the bill at risk, since the legislative session ends tomorrow at 6 p.m.
The Senate briefly debated the teacher layoff bill Wednesday. But facing opposition from several senators, the chamber moved on to other bills. Opponents contend the legislation effectively alters how teacher tenure would work in Missouri and could be a first step toward eliminating it. Supporters say it ensures schools judge faculty based on performance.
Dieckhaus said the House has no real issues with the Kansas City schools bill, which would eliminate the current two-year waiting period before the state could intervene in a district that loses its accreditation.
The bill won unanimous support from the House in March.
But without the teacher layoff bill, House leadership is unwilling to take up the state intervention bill, said Dieckhaus, a Washington Republican.
Sen. David Pearce, a Warrensburg Republican, said he believes the Senate is close to a resolution on teacher layoffs. He is disappointed, however, that his legislation is being held up over the issue, especially with so little time left in the session.
“It’s sad that we’re playing politics with the lives of thousands of kids in the Kansas City district,” Pearce said.