Press Release from Ron Ramsey, Speaker of the Tennessee Senate, May 2, 2011:
Bill increases collaboration between local school boards and teachers
(Nashville) – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R – Blountville) emphasized his ongoing support tonight for Senate Bill 113, a crucial piece of education reform legislation sponsored by Sen. Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) which passed on the floor of the Senate by a vote of 18 to 14.
The bill has now cleared the Senate committee system two times after being amended to make explicit the increased collaboration the bill fosters between teachers and their local school boards.
“Union contracts have hamstrung our local school boards for too long,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “More than a year ago our state raced to the top and planted our flag as a beacon for education reform in the nation — but our journey is not over.”
“In 1978 the General Assembly gave a monopoly to one government union and allowed that union to strangle the hope of education reform in this state,” said Sen. Jack Johnson. “This bill rectifies that mistake and gives power back to locally-elected school boards and teachers. The passage of this measure is necessary if we mean to continue on the path of education reform we have embarked upon.”
“We have a historic opportunity to make this session of the General Assembly a landmark for the cause of reform. This bill creates a collaborative environment between teachers and their local board which will ultimately result in putting a quality teacher in every classroom.”
“This bill has been debated extensively and amended effectively,” Lt. Governor Ramsey continued. “I’m proud of the Senate for passing this measure and I trust the state House will follow suit.”
The bill as amended will end long term union contracts that local governments and taxpayers cannot afford and provides for a policy manual that would outline how every local school board will set policies on salaries, wages, benefits, including insurance and retirement benefits, leaves of absence, student discipline procedures and working conditions for teachers.
The companion House bill sponsored by Rep. Debra Maggart (R-Hendersonville) is currently awaiting action in the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee.