SB 1248, which would allow public charter schools to bypass the standard teacher contract approved by the Superintendent of Public Instruction and issue whatever contracts they desire, passed the Idaho Senate by a 22-13 vote. The bill now moves to the House Education Committee.
The IEA, the Idaho School Boards Association, the Idaho School Administrators Association and many charter school teachers opposed this controversial legislation. On the Senate floor, Senators Kelly Anthon (R-Burley) and Majority Leader Bart Davis (R-Idaho Falls) both spoke out against the bill. Davis, an attorney, questioned the legality of the legislation and predicted that his attorney colleagues stand to make a great deal of money as a result of legal challenges. Senator Janie Ward-Engelking (D-Boise) expressed concern that the bill would provide yet another roadblock to the state’s goal of attracting and retaining quality teachers.
This unnecessary legislation is likely to create two classes of public school teachers in the state: those with rights—guaranteed through Idaho teacher contract law, school board policies and master agreements—and teachers who do not have those same rights. Creating a situation where employment relationships vary from school to school and from teacher to teacher could have significant consequences (intended or unintended) that would negatively impact schools, teachers and students. Charter schools in Idaho are considered public schools, and teachers across all public schools are entitled to the same rights and status.
Please contact members of the Idaho House Education Committee and strongly urge them to vote NO on this legislation. You can refer back to Friday’s Hotline for more information about the numerous flaws in this legislation and the problems it is likely to create.
Boise State Study Queries Public on Education Perspectives
The School of Public Service at Boise State University has unveiled the results of a poll of 1,000 adult Idahoans, who shared their opinions on a variety of public policy issues, including several questions about public education. Among the noteworthy findings:
- 2% said that education/school funding is the most important issue facing Idaho today. This easily outdistanced the second highest issue, which was the economy (9.8%).
- 5% identified education as the top priority for the Idaho legislature.
- 2% said that providing more state money for teacher salaries is the top education funding priority.