Gov. Bob McDonnell’s proposal to reform the contract and grievance processes for Virginia’s public school teachers cleared its final legislative hurdle today, and the governor said he will sign the bill “as soon as it gets to my desk.”
By a vote of 32-8, the Senate passed a House-sponsored version McDonnell’s Educator Fairness Act (HB 2151), a key piece of the Republican governor’s education agenda.
The bill extends the probationary period for teachers from three years to five years before teachers become eligible for open-ended continuing contracts. The legislation also requires annual performance evaluations and allows for a teacher to be dismissed after one bad evaluation. The law also will streamline the grievance procedure and allow for an expedited decision.
Opposition to the legislation waned last month after McDonnell’s administration and the Virginia Education Association reached a compromise over proposed changes to the teacher dismissal process.
“I am grateful for members of both parties who worked together and passed the Educator Fairness Act, to reform Virginia’s teacher contract and grievance system,” McDonnell said in a statement after the Senate’s vote. “I plan to sign this legislation as soon as it gets to my desk.
“The vote in the Senate today shows what can happen when members of both parties set aside their differences in order to improve the overall learning environment for all students in the Commonwealth. These reforms will result in teacher contracts that are fairer, clearer and will result in giving our students more capable and better-trained educators in the classroom.”
– Michael Sluss