Members of the House Education Committee met Friday morning to consider HB 296, the third—and apparently final—rewrite of HB 222. After brief comments from the administrator’s organization, the school boards association, the Boise School District, Idaho Businesses for Education, and the IEA, committee members voted unanimously to send the bill to the floor and recommend that it pass.
Today’s action comes after months of wrangling over how to change the way teachers are paid in Idaho.
Even before the legislature arrived in Boise, the State Board of Education polished a plan that repackaged all of the various pieces and parts that were rejected from the tiered teacher certification plan. It was clear early on in the session that lawmakers were not impressed with the SBE plan, and lawmakers and stakeholders began haggling over the details that would need to be included in a new draft.
IEA opposed HB 222, the first version of the plan which was introduced in early March. After 5 ½ hours of public testimony last week—almost all of it negative—committee members realized that additional work would be needed to make the bill palatable.
Since the hearing on HB 222, the plan has gone under a number of revisions, and earlier this week committee members introduced two more drafts of the plan, resulting in HB 296, a culmination of the many hours of meetings and the ideas of literally dozens of individuals.
In testimony before the House Education Committee, IEA Executive Director Robin Nettinga told committee members that the bill, “…is a textbook illustration of consensus. As such, it is not perfect and we know that there are still tweaks that have to be made in the years ahead. However, because of the changes that have been made, we believe HB 296 is a better bill.”
“The changes included in HB 296 will ensure that teachers will be included in discussions as decisions are made about their compensation, that teachers will not be held accountable for those things that are out of their control, and that lawmakers will do their part to ensure the funding that is promised in this legislation over the next five years will be forthcoming. All of these are extremely important issues for teachers.”
The bill now moves to the House floor. Once approved, members of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee will begin setting the FY 16 public schools budget. Once that budget is set, the legislature could finish up their business in as little as two weeks.
Salary-Based Apportionment Vs Teacher Pay
We continue to get a plethora of questions from individual members about how their pay will be affected, should HB 296 become law. This is a difficult question to answer, because HB 296 does not set teacher salaries. HB 296 is a salary-allocation model.
What’s the difference between a teacher’s salary and a salary allocation? It is significant!
Salary allocation is the amount a local school district receives from the state to be used to pay teachers. There is a process for determining how many salary-allocation dollars each school district receives every year. Each year, the state identifies the number of teachers that the local school district will be funded for.
The district then reports to the state the years of experience and education that you and your fellow teachers have achieved. This information is used to place individuals on the salary-allocation grid found in Idaho law.
The state then sends each school district their salary allocation information and the local school district uses this information to bargain teacher salary schedules for the coming year.
If your district pays you and your colleagues any amount above the allocation they receive and/or if your district hires more teachers than the state funds, then your district must make up that difference using discretionary/operational funds or additional funding received through supplemental levies to pay the additional salary costs.
Your salary is and will continue to be set at the local level through the bargaining process.
It is incorrect to assume that HB 296 identifies how much you will make. It does not. The five schedules outlined in HB 296 quantify the grid the state will use to determine how much more money the district will have available in state funding for teacher salaries over the next five years.
For an example of how the salary allocation for an individual could change over the next five years, please refer to Thursday’s edition of the Hotline.