February 25, 2014


This morning, some legislators again attacked teachers and their profession by filing and voting on several last minute controversial amendments.


The House Education Committee met this morning to hear SB 284, which originally only addressed the start date of a teacher contract.


However what has become standard practice in the House Education Committee, several amendments were allowed to be heard which were filed late this morning with virtually no notice to the public. Some members of the committee remarked that they didn’t have time to fully understand all of the amendments.


One of the several amendments is a reincarnation of an earlier bill, SB 190. However, the SB 190 author pulled the bill before it could be heard in committee. The bill is now back under SB 284.


That amendment would allow non-members of a teacher association to participate in the bargaining/decision making process--the work under current law is the sole responsibility of the exclusive representative.


The amendment would also allow non-members to vote on the proposed collective bargaining agreement.


This is purely an attempt to further dilute the authority of teachers unions and is a direct intrusion on the balance of the bargaining process.


In addition to ISTA and others who testified against this amendment, J.T. Coopman with the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents testified how this amendment will unnecessarily alienate members and non-members of the local association, making the job of school Superintendents more difficult.


The amendment passed 6-5.


A second amendment places new requirements on local associations during mediation. The amendment will require the factfinder to hire a financial consultant. The local association would then have to reimburse the board for the cost of the financial consultant and cost of mediation within 30 days. This presents an unfair financial burden on the local association.


This same amendment also places a new, much shorter statute of limitations on filing an unfair labor practice. The amendment now sets a 3 year limit to file an unfair labor practice complaint. This new time frame puts an undue constraint on the parties to resolve conflicts by a less formal manner and rather forces them into a costlier, formal process.  Besides, there is no example of abuse of the current statute of limitations.


The amended bill passed on a party line vote, 7-3.


Like many of the education ‘reforms’,  these last minute attacks today are solutions in search of a problem.


Please contact your Representative. Tell them that what was once a simple bill that merited support has now been unnecessarily complicated. Tell your Representative to oppose SB 284 unless the anti-teacher and anti-association amendments are removed on 2nd reading.