Senate Committee Reintroduces Mirror Image Bills Repealed by Voters
This afternoon members of the Senate Education Committee voted on party line votes to print four bills brought to them by the Idaho School Boards Association that, according to ISBA Executive Director Karen Echeverria, “allow trustees to effectively and efficiently manage their districts.”
IEA was neither provided copies of the proposals, nor were IEA representatives ever provided an opportunity to weigh in on the concepts before today’s print hearing. Committee chair Sen. John Goedde (R-CDA) told committee members that the concepts outlined in the measures are, “toned-down parts” of what appeared in the voter repealed Proposition 1 and that stakeholders will get an opportunity to review the legislation later this week to identify places where all parties can agree and places where compromises may be made.
- As with Proposition 1, the first proposal would limit contracts to one year.
- In another page from the recently repealed Prop 1, the second bill would require the local association to prove, annually, that they represent 50 percent plus one of the certified employees in the district before they would be allowed to negotiate for them. It would also require both the association and the district to show proof that the contract was ratified by their respective members.
- Also reintroduced today was the provision found in Proposition 1 that would allow the trustees to reduce teacher salaries and/or contract length from one year to the next.
- The fourth measure would limit courts from considering new evidence, should a grievance or non-renewal hearing be challenged in district court. Additionally, this bill would allow districts to put employees on unpaid leave, if a court order prevents the employee from doing his or her job while awaiting trial or a decision by a court of law.
The committee learned that three additional bills will be introduced in tomorrow’s House Education Committee (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/sessioninfo/2013/standingcommittees/hed.pdf). Due to the vague descriptions posted on the House Education Committee agenda, it is impossible to provide further analysis of what might be encompassed in these pieces of proposed legislation. We’ll be sure to provide more detailed information tomorrow.
In a commentary, published last week, Echeverria outlined what she referred to as a “win-win” strategy. She claimed that legislators would provide the more than $30 million in current year funding that otherwise would not be distributed, as a result of the repeal of Propositions 1, 2, and 3 in exchange for reintroduction of many of anti-teacher proposals outlined in Proposition 1, and supported by members of the ISBA at their recent convention.
According to Echeverria, this strategy would ensure ISBA members, “will get both the funding outlined in our Resolution #1 (http://www.idsba.org/sites/default/files/1-K-12_Public_Education_as_an_Investment.pdf) and the labor issues outlined in Resolution #3 (http://www.idsba.org/sites/default/files/3-Collective_Bargaining_and_Teacher_Contracts.pdf).”
Send an Email and Pick up the Phone!
It’s important that you begin conversing with members of the Senate Education Committee (http://legislature.idaho.gov/about/contactbycommittee.cfm). Tell them process matters. In 2011, thousands of citizens attended committee hearings, made phone calls, and wrote emails urging lawmakers to listen to the stakeholders. Today’s action is a repeat of the same failed process that caused voters to repeal the Propositions in November. Urge lawmakers to take a step back and put together a real process that includes all stakeholders.
Does your local school board agree with the action of their organization? Call your local school board members. Remind them of the message Idaho voters sent in November and urge them to tell members of the ISBA Executive Committee to heed the will of the voters.