The House of Representatives last week approved new Last In-First Out (LIFO) legislation that would require school leaders to negotiate with their teachers unions a local plan for how a district cuts staff and what factors go into those decisions.

HF 1478, authored by E-12 Finance Chair Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie), eliminates the current state law that sets out a seniority-based system used by many school districts.

Republicans have wanted school leaders to consider other factors when making staffing decisions for a long time now, but those efforts have largely been blocked by the DFL.

Proponents say if the law changed it would allow administrators the flexibility to keep more effective teachers in the classroom if faced with budget cuts. Naturally, Education Minnesota is opposed citing potential discrimination against experienced teachers. Education Minnesota says current law allows for predictability when layoffs do occur.

MREA is more concerned with hiring than firing teachers. We are facing a teacher shortage crises and this bill does not address the dilemma.

“It’s time to change our attitude. We’re in a new time,” said Rep. Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton), who chairs the House Education Innovation Policy Committee. “There will be no repercussions to this.”

“We have a teacher shortage. We should be focusing on making sure our schools have the resources they need,” said House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park). “This is just another Republican attack on protections in the workplace.” Learn  more about the teacher shortage.

The bill passed 71-59. Five republicans, including Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grover City), a former teacher, joined the DFL in opposition. The bill awaits action in the Senate where it has not been taken up so far this year. Governor Dayton said in a news conference last Friday that he is opposed to the measure.