The IEA urged House Education Committee members to reject a measure that will modify how leadership awards are distributed. HB 627, sponsored by Rep. Julie VanOrden (R-Pingree), adds language assuring districts can use leadership premium funds to pay Career-Technical Education (CTE) Teachers a bonus for these positions which are being labeled as hard-to-fill, increases the minimum amount a teacher can earn from $850 to $900 but does not also increase the amount of funding districts will receive, and requires districts to provide much more specific information about the specific leadership duties for which it doles out the bonus money.
The IEA reminded lawmakers that our organizational support for last year’s career ladder law was contingent, in part, on the assurance that every teacher would be eligible for a leadership premium. In addition, the IEA pointed out that adding CTE educators to the list of activities for which leadership premiums could be distributed was both unnecessary (because hard-to-fill positions is already addressed in the law) and bordered on insulting to the many Idaho teachers who also teach in hard-to-fill positions.
The bill was sent to the floor with a do pass recommendation, with only Democrats opposing the motion.
Also on Tuesday, IEA prevailed in a request to the House Committee to approve HB 630, a bill to funnel money to school districts (in the same manner that the state provides funding for teachers holding a Master’s Degree) for CTE teachers who hold occupational specialist certificates. IEA Director of Public Policy Matt Compton told the committee, “The IEA supports the ideas outlined in HB 630; we want to be sure that districts have the financial means to employ teaching staff in all programs. We also appreciate that the bill’s language ensures the distribution of these funds will take place through the negotiations process already in place at the district level.” You can read more about the committee meeting at Idaho Ed News.
JFAC Sets Aside $8 Million for ENA Lawsuit
The Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee met on Tuesday morning for what many expect will be the last time this session. They needed to finalize a number of small trailer bills and to reset the Commission of the Arts budget that was killed last week by the House of Representatives.
In an unexpected move, JFAC also approved moving $8 million into the Legislative Legal Defense Fund, based on a request from House and Senate Leadership. According to a report filed by Spokesman Review reporter Betsy Russell, the money could be used to settle the years’-long lawsuit.
This funding is does not include the cost of legal representation or legal fees lawmakers have already agreed to pay out after the courts ruled the IEN contract was illegal.