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Senate Approves Bill Abolishing Trial de Novo (Mar 09, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma Senate has approved a bill that would make it easier for school districts to fire teachers.

The bill by Republican Sen. John Ford of passed 30-17 Wednesday. It would end a process known as trial de novo that allows fired teachers to go before a state judge who determines if a school board followed proper procedures during the dismissal hearing.

Ford says teachers would receive a full due-process hearing before the school board. Supporters of the bill and a similar bill that passed Tuesday in the House say school boards often are reluctant to fire teachers because the trial de novo can cost between $80,000 and $100,000.

Democratic Sen. Richard Lerblance of Hartshorne says the measure is "a slap in the face" to Oklahoma teachers.

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