Updated below. State Sen. Pam Wolf (R-51) said Tuesday she felt "frustration" and saw "cruel irony" in after she shepherded a bill changing teacher-layoff rules through the Minnesota Legislature this year.
Wolf, who represents part of Fridley and Spring Lake Park at the State Capitol, also was a teacher at Pines School at the Lino Lakes juvenile detention facility. She and 28 other teachers lost their jobs when the school shifted from Anoka County control to the Centennial School District.
that would have put an end to seniority determining which teachers districts lay off—the so-called "last-in-first out" or LIFO rule that unions support.
The bill passed the Minnesota Legislature but , who called it "yet another example of this prejudice against public school teachers."
But even if Dayton had signed the bill, it wouldn't have helped Wolf and her 28 colleagues, she said. The legislation would have added experience and effectiveness as factors in determining which teachers keep their positions when districts cut jobs. But Pines School carried out unusual, wholesale layoffs in the shift from county to district control, leaving all the teachers in the cold, Wolf said.
Update: $18,000 Hit
The layoffs didn't come out of the blue, Wolf said. "We were hearing rumors for years," she said. The decision to switch to Centennial School District came late last year, she said, and staff got letters about it in February—around the time Wolf was introducing her bill on the Senate floor (see video).
Laid-off Pines School teachers who get new teaching jobs in the fall will start at new districts with the effective status of first-year teachers, Wolf said.
They can also re-apply for their old positions, the Star Tribune reported Tuesday, but Wolf said they would have lower dibs on the jobs than teachers already in the Centennial district.
She predicted her own annual income will take an $18,000 hit and she'll be laid off again next year.
Probation periods are one year for experienced teachers and three years for new teachers, she said, but districts have a disincentive to retain experienced beyond their first year.
"I guarantee I will be let go next spring," she said—because districts are very careful about keeping a teacher long enough for her or him to achieve tenured status.
That's why she wants to have teachers' years of experience in the classroom count more than seniority under a particular district's contract when it comes to layoff decisions, she said: "Seniority stinks as a factor (in layoff decisions)."
Wolf said if she wins re-election in November, she may retool her bill with only experience as an added factor to see if that could get Dayton's signature.
Editor's note: I made changes to this post at 2:45 p.m. Wednesday in response to comments below—including the teachers' option to re-apply and clarifying the probation rules for teachers in new districts.