Teacher appeals bill signed

Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a bill Tuesday to revamp the way teachers appeal disciplinary rulings.

Under a 2012 law that Jindal pushed, a three-member panel was set up to hear appeals on dismissals and other issues.

However, teacher union leaders said that makeup was tilted in favor of management because it included the representative of the district’s superintendent, the school’s principal and the teacher’s designee.

In addition, a district judge ruled earlier this year that the panel was unconstitutional after a challenge from a teacher in the Monroe City School District.

Under the new law, superintendents will select a hearing officer to hear appeals — who can serve is spelled out — and both the School Board and the teacher can appeal any ruling to a court.

The legislation brought rare talks on the changes among Jindal’s office, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, Louisiana Association of Educators, Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana and the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents.

“This process will help ensure the best teachers are in every classroom to improve education for Louisiana children,” the governor said in a prepared statement.

The legislation is House Bill 1277. The key sponsor was state Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Bossier City.

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