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Kuehner v. Kander

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District

September 18, 2014

ANITA MARIE KUEHNER, ET AL., Appellants,
v.
JASON KANDER, Respondent

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cole County, Missouri. Honorable Daniel Richard Green, Judge.

Charles Hatfield, Jefferson City, MO, Counsel for Appellants.

Khristine Heisinger, Jefferson City, MO, Co-Counsel for Appellants.

Jonathan Hensley, Jefferson City, MO, Counsel for Respondent Kander.

Mark Ellinger, Jefferson City, MO, Counsel for Respondents Cozad and Teachgreat.0rg.

Before: Thomas H. Newton, P.J., Mark D. Pfeiffer, and Cynthia L. Martin, JJ. Pfeiffer and Martin, JJ. concur.

OPINION

Thomas H. Newton, Presiding Judge

Page 225

Summary

Ms. Anita Marie Kuehner et al. (Appellants) appeal the trial court's judgment that Initiative Petition 2014-024 neither infringes upon Article XII, section 2(b), or Article III, section 50, of the Missouri Constitution,

Page 226

nor violates section 116.050.[1] We affirm.

Factual and Procedural Background

The following facts were adduced from the joint stipulation of facts and exhibits. In March 2013, a representative of TeachGreat.org[2] submitted an initiative petition sample sheet to the Secretary of State's Office " relating to a proposed . . . amendment to [a]rticle IX of the Missouri Constitution." It was identified as Initiative Petition 2014-024 (Petition). The Petition supported the following proposed constitutional amendment, which reads as follows:

Be it resolved by the people of the state of Missouri that the Constitution be amended :
Article IX is amended by adopting six new sections to be known as Article IX, Sections 3(d), 3(e), 3(f), 3(g), 3(h), and 3(i), to read as follows:
Section 3(d). All certificated staff shall be at will employees unless a contract is entered into between a school district and certificated staff (1) prior to the effective date of this section; or (2) pursuant to the provisions of section 3(e), 3(f), and 3(h) of this article. " Certificated staff," as used in this article, shall mean employees of a school district who hold a valid certificate to teach in the State of Missouri.
Section 3(e). No school district receiving any state funding or local tax revenue funding shall enter into new contracts having a term or duration in excess of three years with certificated staff.
Section 3(f). Effective beginning July 1, 2015, and notwithstanding any provisions of this constitution, any school district receiving any state funding or local tax revenue shall develop and implement a standards based performance evaluation system approved by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The majority of such evaluation system shall be based upon quantifiable student performance data as measured by objective criteria and such evaluation system shall be used in (1) retaining, promoting, demoting, dismissing, removing, discharging and setting compensation for certificated staff; (2) modifying or terminating any contracts with certificated staff; and (3) placing on leave of absence any certificated staff because of a decrease in pupil enrollment, school district reorganization or the financial condition of the school district.
Section 3(g). Nothing in section 3(f) shall prevent a school district from demoting, removing, discharging, or terminating a contract with certificated staff for one or more of the following causes: (1) physical or mental condition unfitting him to instruct or associate with children; (2) immoral conduct; (3) incompetency, inefficiency or insubordination in line of duty; (4) willful or persistent violation of, or failure to obey, state laws or regulations; (5) excessive or unreasonable absence from performance of duties; or (6) conviction of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude.
Section 3(h). In any suit to challenge a school district's decision regarding ...

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