Future school bus drivers would be ineligible for tenure under a bill that won easy approval Monday in the Louisiana House Education Committee.
The measure, House Bill 293, next faces action on the House floor.
It passed the committee 9-3 after a brief discussion.
State Rep. Joe Harrison, R-Napoleonville and sponsor of the bill, said local, state and federal employment laws prevent the need for school bus drivers to have tenure, which is a form of job protection.
Harrison said the Terrebonne Parish school system recently spent $14,000 on a lengthy tenure dispute involving a school bus driver.
“This is a bill that can eliminate a lot of the problems that we have with the internal workings of the school system,” he said.
Louisiana is one of the few states in the nation that offers tenure to school bus drivers.
The law went on the books in 1944.
Under current rules, drivers earn tenure if they successfully complete a three-year probationary period.
The state has 13,729 school bus drivers, according to the state Department of Education.
Under HB293, those hired after July 1 would not be eligible for tenure.
The bill is backed by the Council for a Better Louisiana, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, the state Department of Education and the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The Louisiana Federation of Teachers, which is a teachers’ union, opposed the measure.
LFT President Steve Monaghan said it is unfair to compare tenure laws here with the rest of the nation because many other states have collective bargaining laws to address employment issues for school personnel.
Bargaining agreements only exist in a handful of school districts in Louisiana.
Harrision said he visited with officials in five school systems in his House district and found little opposition to his bill.
Here is how the committee voted:
Voting to end tenure for school bus drivers hired after July 1 (9): State Reps Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge; Chris Broadwater, R-Hammond; Henry Burns, R-Haughton; Simone Champagne, R-Jeanerette; Cameron Henry, R-New Orleans; Paul Hollis, R-Mandeville; Patrick Jefferson, D-Arcadia; Nancy Landry, R-Lafayette; and Dee Richard, No Party-Thibodaux.
Voting against ending tenure for future school bus drivers (3): State Reps. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite; Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge; and Alfred Williams, D-Baton Rouge.
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