A bill that would allow superintendents to seek state waivers from what they consider burdensome rules and regulations was rejected Wednesday by the House Education Committee.
The vote was 5-7.
Opponents said there already are provisions in place for such complaints.
“Every school board has a grievance procedure,” said Scott Richard, executive director of the Louisiana School Boards Association, which opposed the measure.
The legislation is House Bill 281 by state Rep. Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge.
Carter said his plan is aimed at reviving a 2010 law — dubbed the red tape reduction act — that has failed to generate a single waiver request by a local school district.
The law was touted by then-Gov. Bobby Jindal as a way to let teachers do their jobs without crushing paperwork requirements.
It allows districts to seek four-year waivers from the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Carter said the law is hampered by several rules, including a requirement that a majority of teachers at the school back any waiver request.
“This bill seeks to remedy those issues and allows it to be more useful,” Carter said of the 2010 law.
Kristin Magee, a fourth-grade teacher in Ascension Parish, urged the committee to endorse the measure.
“As a teacher, paperwork is daunting,” Magee said. “It is overwhelming.”
Officials of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and the Louisiana Association of Educators opposed the bill.
They said Carter’s measure would remove the best part of the 6-year-old law — the requirement that a majority of teachers back any waiver request.
The law was challenged by the LFT, and a district court ruled that it improperly ceded legislative authority to BESE.
However, the state Supreme Court declined to rule since no district had cited the law to seek a waiver.
Opponents said legal action would begin again if Carter’s plan became law.
Rep. Chris Broadwater, R-Hammond, praised the legislation.
“My wife is one of those teachers who left the classroom over this issue,” Broadwater said, a reference to excessive paperwork required of teachers.
“She spent more time being a secretary than being a teacher,” he said.
Richard said the bill could put superintendents in conflict with their local boards.
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