Attorney Marc Ellinger, who has served as an attorney for Rex Sinquefield, is once again helping the retired billionaire in the latest of his long history of attacks against public education and classroom teachers.
Ellinger filed paperwork Friday with the Missouri Secretary of State's office to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot to end teacher tenure for those who do not already have it. His proposal is the same as one he unsuccessfully attempted to have placed on the ballot in 2012.
The ballot issue would make teachers at-will employees of their school districts, meaning they could be fired at any time whether they have one year of experience or 20. It also requires that the retention of a teacher be based on students' standardized test scores.
If successful the petition would be placed before Missouri voters in 2014.
The wording of the proposed ballot issue is as follows:
Be it resolved by the people of the state of Missouri that the Constitution be amended:
Article IX is amended by adopting six new sections to be known as Article IX, Sections 3(d), 3(e), 3(f), 3(g), 3(h), and 3(i), to read as follows:
Section 3(d). All certificated staff shall be at will employees unless a contract is entered into between a school district and certificated staff (1) prior to the effective date of this section; or (2) pursuant to the provisions of section 3(e), 3(£), and 3(h) of this article. "Certificated staff,"as used in this article, shall mean employees of a school district who hold a valid certificate to teach in the State of Missouri.
Section 3(e). No school district receiving any state funding or local tax revenue funding shall enter into new contracts having a term or duration in excess of three years with certificated staff.
Section 3(f). Effective beginning July 1, 2015, and notwithstanding any provisions of this constitution, any school district receiving any state funding or local tax revenue shall develop and implement a standards based performance evaluation system approved by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The majority of such evaluation system shall be based upon quantifiable student performance data as measured by objective criteria and such evaluation system shall be used in (1) retaining, promoting, demoting, dismissing, removing, discharging and setting compensation for certificated staff; (2) modifying or terminating any contracts with certificated staff; and (3) placing on leave of absence any certificated staff because of a decrease in pupil enrollment, school district reorganization or the financial condition of the school district.
Section 3(g). Nothing in section 3(f) shall prevent a school district from demoting, removing, discharging, or terminating a contract with certificated staff for one or more of the following causes: (1) physical or mental condition unfitting him to instruct or associate with children; (2) immoral conduct; (3) incompetency, inefficiency or insubordination in line of duty; (4) willful or persistent violation of, or failure to obey, state laws or regulations; (5) excessive or unreasonable absence from performance of duties; or (6) conviction of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude.
Section 3(h). In any suit to challenge a school district's decision regarding retention, promotion, demotion, dismissal, removal, discharge, modification or termination of contracts, or setting compensation of certificated staff, except for decisions made for any of the causes listed in Section 3(g) of this Article, the person bringing such suit must establish that the school district failed to properly utilize the standards based performance evaluation system as referenced in Section 3(£) of this Article.
Section 3(i). Certificated staff shall retain the right to organize and to bargain collectively as provided in article 1, section 29 of this Constitution, except with respect to the design and implementation of the performance based evaluation system established in this article, and as otherwise referenced in this article.