Rules review is winding up and lawmakers have begun printing and debating bills. The House Education Committee approved a request to introduce a measure from the Idaho School Boards Association to allow school districts to issue separate contracts for teachers (such as counselors, professional-technical teachers, school librarians, etc.) who work more than the number of days negotiated in the Master Agreement. HB 442 sponsor, Rep. Ryan Kerby (R-New Plymouth) told committee members that allowing districts to issue a separate contract for additional days would ensure that those employees do not have a property right to those days, should the district decide to decrease extra days at a future date. The IEA is opposed to this legislation.
Senate Education Committee members agreed to introduce a State Department of Education proposal to increase leadership premium funding to increase the minimum amount a teacher can receive from $850 per teacher to $900.
House Joint Resolution 1, the bill sponsored by Rep. Ronald Nate (R-Rexburg) that would amend the Idaho Constitution making it possible for public funds to be funneled to private and parochial schools, has been assigned to the House State Affairs Committee. The chair of the committee has not yet scheduled a hearing date for this bill. However, it is critically important that you contact committee members about this proposal.
If this law passes, our tax dollars would end up funding private and religious schools that are completely unaccountable to state public education standards and laws. Unregulated private voucher schools may hire teachers without a college degree or a state license, and these schools don’t have to meet the same coursework or attendance standards that public schools must. This proposal is the wrong way to fix our struggling schools. We should instead be investing in innovative programs and solutions that make our schools the central hub of our communities.
Please contact members of the House State Affairs Committee and urge them to oppose HJR 1.
The Senate gave unanimous approval to a resolution that reiterates state support for the goal of reaching a 60% rate of post-secondary degrees or certifications. Lieutenant Governor Brad Little had put forth the non-binding resolution in a Joint Education Committee meeting on Monday.
Idaho has actually seen the post-secondary numbers drop from 42% to 40% over the last three years, but state officials remain committed to the recommendation from the Governor’s Task Force on Education Excellence, which set a lofty goal of 60% by the year 2020. The resolution now goes to the House.
Education is the focus on this week’s Viewpoint show on KTVB-Channel 7 (Boise), and IEA President Penni Cyr taped an interview today with host Doug Petcash. Superintendent Sherri Ybarra was also a guest on the public affairs program, which will air this Sunday at 6:30 AM. Cyr shared the IEA position on education related topics such as funding, evaluations and accountability, alternative authorization, and the proposed constitutional amendment that would allow for private schools to receive public funds.