FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 18, 2010
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Senator John Vratil, 785-296-7311
(Nancy Note: Is the Union turning on this man who has “carried their water” for years? I have no clue even what the State Teachers’ Union really said/thought, but find this very interesting.)
SENATOR JOHN VRATIL CLARIFIES BILL’S INTENT; CALLS KNEA ON MISINFORMATION
Content and Effect of Senate Bill 355 at Issue
TOPEKA – State Senator John Vratil, R-Leawood, today issued a strong statement clarifying the effect of Senate Bill 355 which has been the subject of erroneous KNEA communications to its educator/members statewide.
Sen. Vratil stated, “Whether the misinformation is the result of honest misunderstanding of this legislation or the deliberate, inflammatory rhetoric of an opposing political view, it is a disservice to the teachers and retired teachers across the state. I simply want to set the record straight. Current and retired educators rely upon the KNEA to be accurate in its reporting on legislation that affects them. Our teachers and retired teachers deserve better from the association charged with protecting their interests before the state legislature. If those who track legislation for the KNEA cannot be relied upon to present information accurately, the organization will quickly lose any credibility with its own members and with the legislature.”
Vratil cited the Feb. 9th and Feb. 10th editions of the KNEA’s online newsletter, Under the Dome, which contained misleading and in some cases completely inaccurate statements on the affects of SB 355.
In the Feb. 9th edition, KNEA’s Under the Dome alleged, “If SB 355 is adopted, a retiree who has come out of retirement to help out a school district that can’t find a teacher will be fired as soon as the district can find someone who will work for less. If adopted, a retiree could be fired the day before classes start.”
The Feb. 10th edition claimed, “Senator Vratil’s action classifies these experienced professionals who have worked a full career in public education as at-will employees with the same professional rights as Wal-Mart greeters…. Under Vratil’s bill, a retiree who has come back to work could be notified at any time – even the day before school starts – that he or she is no longer wanted.”
“These statements,” Vratil countered, “are patently false, specifically meant to generate fear and distress among our retired teachers.”
In reality, SB 355 would amend only the definition of “teacher” in the general definition section of the current teacher continuing contract law. This bill would ensure that the current definition of “teacher” – excluding retired teacher s – is consistent throughout the continuing contract law. Presently, the term “teacher” is used with two different definitions in the law.
Vratil said, “It is disappointing that this erroneous information has been circulated statewide. I had hoped the KNEA would at the very least step forward, correct its errors and apologize to its members, if not to me.”
Sen. Vratil contacted the KNEA on Feb. 14th, offering the organization an opportunity to correct the misinformation, but to date, KNEA has refused.