This bill, sponsored by Sen. Bob Nonini (R-Post Falls) could create major instability in the teaching profession in Idaho and create inconsistencies from school to school and teacher to teacher. SB 1248 would allow charter schools to use whatever contracts they choose, rather than the contract approved by the State Superintendent. All three education stakeholder groups, as well as several charter schools, have testified against this bill, but legislators are turning a deaf ear to the counsel of those who know best and have plowed ahead with this ill-advised plan.
Continuing contracts and fair employment practices are at grave risk if this legislation passes. Collective bargaining has helped ensure the rights of professional educators and consistency in the relationship between teachers and schools. A free-for-all system would be detrimental to teachers, schools, and students.
Democrats Blast Education Funding Plan
Idaho Democrats issued a news release that criticized the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee’s K-12 public education budget. The Dems took issue with the plan to backfill the education budget with “trailer bills”, with the budget falling short of both the 7.5% increase requested by Superintendent Ybarra and the 7.9% increase proposed by Governor Otter, and an “undercutting” of professional development for teachers.
JFAC approved a 6.8% increase in education funding, with the hope that “trailer bills” related to an early literacy initiative and leadership premiums for teachers will make their way through the legislature before the end of the session. Idaho Education News has more on the Democrat’s release about the education budget.
Meanwhile, Republican Leaders Praise Education Funding
In a briefing with the Idaho Press Club, Senate Pro-Tem Brent Hill and House Speaker Scott Bedke both complimented the legislature for their work on the education budget. Bedke said the budget represents a “continuing commitment” to education funding, in particular to the priority of funding the Career Ladder and restoring operational funding.