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Bill advances to give support staff same due process rights as certified Arizona teachers

The Arizona Senate Education Committee has advanced a bill that would give school support staff the same due process rights as certified teachers.

SB 1392 would require district governing boards to adopt and administer new personnel policies. Those would grant non-certificated personnel, like bus drivers, with equal due process procedures to those outlined for certificated teachers.

Democratic state Sen. Lela Alston is the bill’s sponsor. She said the change would apply to more than 50,000 school employees across the state.

“Many districts do afford classified employees due process rights, but others do not, and I think it’s very important that we recognize and give [them] the respect and dignity that they deserve and the opportunities to speak for themselves," she said.

Alston has offered the bill several times over the last few years and said she was happy it finally got a hearing.

Members approved it by a vote of 5-2. It now goes to the Senate Rules Committee.

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Senior field correspondent Bridget Dowd has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.