Happy Spring! As the 2018-2019 school year draws to a close, we pause to reflect on the marathon 95-day 2019 Legislative Session and turn our vision forward to the 2019-2020 school year.
The IEA is excited to welcome Matt Aber-Towns as the new IEA Executive Director. We conducted a three-month nationwide search from December to February, receiving quality applicants from across the country. Matt’s extensive background in management, political campaigns, policy development, organizing, professional development, and member engagement will serve as strong anchors for the IEA work and continue IEA on a solid path forward.
The 2019 legislative session ended with a stalemate on the rewrite of the Public School Funding Formula. Stakeholders all agree this is not the end of the conversation. In the waning days of the legislative session, a group of legislators brought forward HB 293 as an initial step in the funding formula process. Dubbed “Funding Formula Light,” the bill primarily contained definitions and reporting requirements. The bill notably included the definition of a local salary schedule which defined the first step on the professional rung as $42,500. Educators across the state agree this is a positive development. The IEA testified in both the House and Senate Education Committees that mandating an amount on the professional rung in the middle of a bargaining year would cause chaos, or at a minimum, confusion. In addition, staff from the State Board, State Department, and the legislature have been unable to reach agreement on whether this was a mandatory amount or a suggested amount, despite the letter of the law being clear: $42,500 is required for those in their first year on the professional rung.
Members across the state are already sharing stories of difficulties in bargaining as a result of this last-minute decision. Please share your bargaining story with us. Email email@example.com and tell us what problems this new $42,500 salary amount on the professional rung is causing in your local school district. In addition, email your legislators and tell them the story of your district. Share which programs are funded by supplemental levies. Share what the students need in your district to be successful, but your district currently lacks funding for. Ask them to restore the ability of districts to bargain a salary schedule that makes sense for their local. Stay tuned—this conversation does not conclude when bargaining is done. We must continue to educate legislators on the realities of facilities, programs, and school districts across the state.
As the 2018-2019 school year concludes, we celebrate the successes from the year. IEA membership is up nearly five percent from this same time a year ago and over 50% of locals across the state increased their membership this year. This is possible because of the hard work of individual members across the state. Keep it up! Continue to share the benefits of belonging to the largest professional organization and the strongest advocate for public education in the state with each new educator in your building. Together, members can ensure Idaho provides a world-class education for every student in the state. Thank you for all you do–we appreciate you!
Kari Overall – President, Idaho Education Association
Matt Aber-Towns – Executive Director, Idaho Education Association