The IEA testified on two bills in the House Education Committee meeting this morning. H163 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/H0163.htm) will allow districts to deliver individual contracts to teachers via email. In the event the teacher does not respond to the email within a specific time period, the district would be required to follow up via certified mail.
HB 163 is one bill IEA could support because, while Idaho law has always required that if contracts were delivered by registered mail (assuming the district chose not to hand out contracts at the school building), this modification to the law provides a less expensive way for districts to deliver contracts. The House Education Committee sent the bill to the floor with a “do pass” recommendation.
The IEA opposed S1027 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1027.htm), brought by the State Board of Education, because it will eliminate the Loan Forgiveness Program. Teachers will no longer be eligible to have their school loans forgiven if they go to work in a school with a high percentage of children in poverty. The loss of the Loan Forgiveness Program is one more blow to recruiting and retaining teachers, and it supersedes the work of the Governor’s Task Force, which is also discussing the important issues of teacher recruitment and retention. After some discussion and questions, the committee sent this bill to the floor with a “do pass” recommendation.
ERIP – Early Retirement Incentive Program – on the Chopping Block
Tomorrow, the Senate Education Committee will consider SB 1089 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1089.htm), the bill sponsored by Sen’s. Russ Fulcher (R-Meridian) and Cliff Bayer (R-Boise) to repeal of the Early Retirement Incentive Program (ERIP). The IEA will outline the value of the program, which has been in place since 1996 and has saved the state more than $90 million.
Will you be able to meet the Rule of 90 and retire with full benefits? If not, please plan to attend the Senate Education Committee meeting, scheduled for 3 pm and share your story. If you are unable to attend tomorrow’s meeting, committee members still need to hear from you. Email them (http://legislature.idaho.gov/about/contactbycommittee.cfm) today!
More Opportunities to Tell Your Story!
The Education committees are expected to take up each of the labor bills within the next few weeks, if not sooner. We need you to share your story with lawmakers.
If you have not already done so, please call your Region office or contact your local and let them know you would like to travel to Boise to testify. We have spoken with both education committee chairs and have asked them to notify us in advance of scheduling hearings on the various bills. However, we typically won’t have more than a few days notice, so if you hope to come to the statehouse to share your concerns, you should begin making plans now, and read the hotline each day for updates.