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Senate Committee OKs Changes to Teacher Firings (Mar 28, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A bill that would make it easier for school districts to fire teachers has cleared a Senate committee.

The Senate Education Committee voted Monday to eliminate 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. Proponents of the Republican-backed bill maintain it will save districts tens of thousands of dollars in court costs.

Democrats maintain the plan is an "assault on public education" in Oklahoma.

The committee also approved a bill to transfer power from the state Board of Education to the state superintendent. That measure was introduced after a highly publicized dispute between the new Republican superintendent and a board composed of appointees of former Democratic Gov. Brad Henry.

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