If you thought the Career Ladder/Tiered Certification bill might be delayed or even dead for this year, then think again.
Marilyn Whitney, education aide to Governor Otter, told Idaho Education News reporter Kevin Richert that a Career Ladder/Tiered Certification bill will be introduced at the committee’s next meeting, scheduled for this Monday, February 16. However, as of 5 pm on Friday evening, the Senate Education Committee agenda for Monday did not include the topic.
According to Whitney, the bill is big. Though the public is not allowed access to a legislative proposal until it has been properly introduced to a legislative committee, we’re told the most recent draft is more than 20 pages long and includes most of the elements originally outlined in the State Board’s legislation. The bill is also expected to fold in tiered certification, effectively moving teacher certification from rule to law.
Will IEN (And Your District’s Broadband Services) Go Dark Next Week?
The state has appealed Judge Owens’ ruling earlier this week that definitively voided the IEN contract. While the appeal gives the state a 14-day stay on the judgment, it does not change the demand for payment from service providers.
According to a series of Idaho Education News articles, Idaho owes ENA nearly $4 million and they also owe CenturyLink more than $1 million for providing broadband services to local school districts. Late last month, CenturyLink sent a letter to ENA demanding payment by February 23rd or risk the possibility of “interrupted or disconnected” services.
IEA learned Friday afternoon that is unlikely the state will be able to negotiate and get legislative approval for a possible short-term “bridge” contract to keep the services up and running for the remainder of this school year. Consequently, local school districts will be surveyed this weekend in order to determine what the options will be, should CenturyLink move forward and cut off services.
The IEA has been closely monitoring this situation. We have been talking with leaders and lawmakers about the importance of the broadband and other services provided by the IEN, and we’ve been meeting with other education stakeholders and the Governor’s office to keep abreast of the most up-to-date information. In the end, it is important that those policymakers charged with making decisions about contracts and funding do what is best to ensure our children have the resources they need.