Lee said he never saw any proof the current hiring practices didn't work, but the changes are acceptable. This bill requires faculty senate involvement in hiring: at least three teachers must be included in the process.
Many teachers are hired during the summer, typically outside of the contract days when the faculty senate members are working. If faculty senate members come to work for interviews, those teachers will be compensated in accordance with their normal daily rates, Alsop and Lee said.
The amended bill also extended the amount of time in which counties can schedule school.
Right now school systems need to create a calendar within a 43-week window; that was extended to 48 weeks, with a 4-week required period for maintenance. School systems could already request a waiver to move to a year-round or "balanced" calendar, but Alsop said the revised bill allows more flexibility for counties to create a system that is right for them.
Alsop, union leadership and lawmakers agreed changes to the calendar would allow for 180 days of instruction.
Teacher planning periods were also increased from a minimum of 30 minutes to 40 minutes, with a call for the state Board of Education to study planning periods.
Many of the changes introduced Monday meant concessions from proponents of the original bill. Overall though, Alsop said the bill is still a success, and not necessarily just one for teachers unions.
"I think if you would have asked them six months ago, if they would agree to move from a 43 to a 48-week calendar, to change the hiring practices, to talk about the 180 days of actual instruction that we were going for, the overhaul of accreditation, auditing, the qualifications for the state superintendent, they would have said 'there's no way we'll get there,'" Alsop said.
"But we worked hard with them, we listened to their concerns, and I think as a result we have a very good bill.
Discussions on the changes have included a variety of parties and taken place largely behind closed doors. The governor's office, lawmakers, unions, state Board of Education President Wade Linger and state Superintendent Jim Phares each said they thought everyone worked together efficiently and effectively to find an "agreed to" or "consensus" bill.
Hale did call the talks "grueling," though.
It's not anticipated those talks will continue as the bill enters the House. The House officially received the bill Monday afternoon. After the brief session, Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, said he commends the work of everyone involved and approves of the bill as it is now.
"We all felt it was better to work the bill at every step of the way to see if we could reach a good bill with agreement and consensus, which is one of the things that I always try to do," Thompson said, adding that he participated in some of the meetings discussing the bill.
Thompson said the House wanted to work the bill as fast as it could to get it to the governor's office: the bill was only referred to the House Education Committee.
Committee chairwoman Mary Poling, D-Barbour, said she had seen the latest version of the bill and was very familiar with the changes it contained.
"I think it's a good compromise," Poling said.
Poling plans to bring it before her committee at 2 p.m. Tuesday. She envisions a long discussion, possibly over the course of multiple sessions.