The state senate votes to give school boards and teachers an alternative to tenure—-but it could mean less security for teachers if they take the alternative. School boards would have to approve the plan first. Then the teachers would have a choice of the security of a tenure system and a salary based on that system or a less protected status, with salaries that might be higher based on performance.

Sponsor Matt Bartle of Lee’s Summit says the bill is similar to a proposal President Obama made for the Washington D. C. School System. He says his proposal is not intended to weaken any bargaining power by teacher organizations although the ultimate decision about participation in the program would be made by individual teachers.

The bill does not specifically require school districts to work with teacher organizations to create the merit pay program. But Bartle doubts any school district that doesn’t work with those groups would have any takers for the program.

AUDIO: Sens. Bartle & Bray discuss. 6 min MP3