Members of the public will have their first opportunity on Tuesday morning to weigh in on one of the most important education policy issues of the 2015 session—a career ladder teacher pay system for Idaho teachers.
The House Education Committee will meet at 8:00 AM on Tuesday, March 10th in the Lincoln Auditorium to discuss HB 222 and take comment from the public. The Lincoln Auditorium is located in the west wing of the capitol on the garden (basement) level. Sign-in for testimony should begin around 7:30 AM.
HB 222 would completely overhaul the way school districts receive funding for teacher salaries. Instead of the state providing funding for the education and experience levels of teachers, the new formula would take into account the student achievement and/or growth levels of an individual teacher’s students and also require the teacher to receive a proficient evaluation each year.
The IEA has voiced strong opposition to the legislation for a number of reasons. First, though the legislation, as written, would provide as much as $125 million of additional salary funding for teachers over the next five (5) years, these funding levels are nothing more than goals for future legislatures to consider. leading That uncertainly leads teachers to wonder if lawmakers will break this promise somewhere one, two or five years from now.
Second, while $125 million is a great deal of money, the fact remains that in 2020-21, a new teacher in Idaho could be making $37,000. Currently, surrounding states are already paying new teachers an annual salary near, equal, or greater than this. If one of the goals of this legislation is to recruit and retain teachers, the plan does not go far enough fast enough.
Third, the process in the development of this legislation and the process outlined within the legislation itself continue to bar teachers from engaging in the important discussion of compensation. We know that changing the way school employees are paid is complex and affects thousands of people. We know that if done well, it can drive positive change. If done poorly, it can create dissention and dysfunction throughout the state. And we have always believed the best decisions are made at the local level and created in cooperation with those who will be affected by the changes.
Finally, teachers believe in and understand the value of the evaluation process. For this process to work effectively all parties —the evaluator and the individual being evaluated—must have a deep understanding in the theory and practice. Instead of ensuring that administrators have the knowledge and skills to perform effective evaluations by providing training, HB 222 instead assumes that there are administrators who do not have the skills and requires an audit process that is confusing and has no consequences.
IEA President Penni Cyr will be on hand to provide testimony and a number of IEA teacher members from across the state have also expressed their intent to travel to Boise and speak out on this important piece of legislation. The IEA has arranged for those members who will be attending the hearing to join Penni and House Speaker Scott Bedke (R-Oakley), House Education Chair Reed DeMordaunt (R-Eagle), Rep. Mat Erpelding (D-Boise), and Marilyn Whitney, senior education aide for Governor Otter for a lunch conversation following the morning hearing.
If you are unable to attend the meeting, you are urged to share your concerns about the legislation with members of the House Education Committee. Please email committee members before tomorrow’s meeting. And, you can also watch the proceedings online. We will provide a full report of Tuesday’s hearing in tomorrow’s Hotline message.
Tuesday is Election Day for Certain School Districts
School districts throughout the state will be asking voters to approve property tax increases to help build or refurbish facilities and to supplement state funding to assure quality programs continue to exist at the local level. We have provided a list of those districts that we are aware of that will be holding elections on Tuesday.
West Ada (formerly Meridian), Melba, Bonneville, Cassia County, West Jefferson, Oneida County, and Mountain View School Districts are seeking approval from voters on bond levies to build new buildings and/or refurbish existing structures. Voters in the Weiser School District will be asked to approve a Plant Facilities levy.
Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls, Kootenai, Plummer-Worley, Idaho Falls, Soda Springs, Horseshoe Bend, Fruitland, Lake Pend Oreille, Twin Falls, and Pocatello School Districts are asking voters to pass supplemental levies to provide additional funding to continue offering programs already in place.
Idaho Education News published a report last week about some of the elections being held on Tuesday. We’ll provide a full report on the outcome of these elections later this week.