School districts may suspend with pay teachers who are charged with felonies. That could soon change to an unpaid suspension.
On March 6, the House Education Finance Committee approved HF2651, which would authorize districts to withhold pay from teachers during any time they face an ongoing felony charge. If a teacher is found not guilty, districts must then reimburse the compensation the teacher would have received during that time.
Rep. Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie) sponsors the bill. She is concerned that schools are paying salaries to potential felons, with no way of getting the money back if the suspended teacher is convicted.
Loon explained that in the cases she has reviewed, teachers who are charged with felonies are frequently the subject of investigations surrounding criminal sexual conduct with students. She urged the committee to support the bill as a reasonable protective measure for Minnesota schools.
Grace Keliher, director of governmental relations for the Minnesota School Board Association, agreed.
“No school district would be forced to reward wrongdoing in the case that a teacher has been found to have committed a felony that would result in termination,” she said.
Jan Alswager, chief lobbyist for Education Minnesota, claimed that the bill may have unintended consequences. Alswager described a case where a teacher faced a felony charge when a disgruntled student placed marijuana in her briefcase. She added that the bill could place undue stress on teachers who may be innocent.
Rep. Tom Anzelc (DFL-Balsam Township) also opposed the bill. He argued that felony charges take months to resolve, which is too long for a teacher’s family to go without the money.
“We get to come here in a nice, warm building in January and walk around here like we’re big shots, and that classroom teacher may not be able to survive (foregoing) a paycheck without serious financial harm to the family,” Anzelc said.
The bill now awaits action by the House Education Finance Committee. It has no Senate companion.
Waiting for the governor’s final grade
Omnibus education bill nears finish line
(view full story) Published 4/27/2012
Last in, first out … out or in?
Conference committee weighs benefits of changing teacher layoff practices
(view full story) Published 3/30/2012
Education advocate is moving on
Rep. Mindy Greiling announces she won’t seek re-election
(view full story) Published 2/3/2012
Withholding state funds from schools
Education finance law keeps $780 million for other General Fund spending
(view full story) Published 8/11/2011
First try at K-12 finance bill fails
Dayton says special education cuts ‘would create significant funding gaps’
(view full story) Published 7/15/2011
‘Bold and beautiful’ or full of inequities?
Confusion exists whether K-12 bill increases or cuts funding
(view full story) Published 5/20/2011
Minnesota Index: Teaching and learning
Facts and statistics about education in Minnesota
(view full story) Published 5/20/2011
Lands set apart
Permanent School Fund management, income potential explored
(view full story) Published 5/13/2011
‘Social promotion’ to promote literacy
Third-graders could repeat if they can’t read
(view full story) Published 4/29/2011
Historic St. Paul walkout
Illegal action changed teacher bargaining; a new debate rises over right to strike
(view full story) Published 4/15/2011
Changes in education
House approves omnibus education finance bill
(view full story) Published 4/1/2011
Education finance bill offers bold reforms
Quantity not as key as quality, says DFL
(view full story) Published 3/25/2011
A voucher by any other name
Bill would create limited scholarships for low-income students
(view full story) Published 3/18/2011
Fewer days, longer hours
Some districts find four-day school week works as a budget fix
(view full story) Published 2/18/2011
First Reading: ‘Pitting the good against the good’
Proposed lift of safe schools mandate is a tough call
(view full story) Published 2/4/2011
The goal: 25,000 new teachers
Bush Foundation commits big bucks to revamp teacher training
(view full story) Published 1/28/2011
First Reading: Alternative teacher mindset
Tackling the achievement gap one classroom at a time
(view full story) Published 1/21/2011