Bills Change Criteria for Ala. Teacher Layoffs

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- House and Senate committees have approved bills saying that seniority can't be the most significant factor considered by city and county school boards when they write policies for laying off teachers due to funding problems or declining enrollment.

The Senate Finance and Taxation-Education Committee approved a bill Wednesday sponsored by Republican Sen. Del Marsh of Anniston, and the House Education Policy Committee approved an identical bill by Republican Rep. Ed Henry of Decatur. The bill says the annual performance evaluations for teachers now being developed by the state Board of Education will be a significant factor in determining layoff policies.

Henry says the bills ensure the most effective teachers remain in the classroom.

Opponents say it is a way to lay off veteran teachers with the highest salaries.