The IEA has delivered a letter to Governor Otter urging him to veto SB 1248, the measure sponsored by Sen. Bob Nonini (R-Post Falls) that will allow charter schools to issue contracts of their choice other than the state-approved standard teacher contract.
SB 1248 passed both the Senate (22-13) and the House (55-14-1).
As we have been reporting, SB 1248 has the potential to destabilize employment relationships between teachers and their charter school employer. For example, a school could end up negotiating each teacher contract separately. One teacher in the charter school could have a multi-year contract and another teacher, employed for an equal number of years could be working under an at-will relationship. Some teachers would have rights under Board policy and some may not.
No doubt, public charter schools do and should continue to be provided flexibility to be innovative with teaching methods and delivery of curriculum. However, with respect to Idaho employment law this is neither a wise practice nor innovative. Uniformity and predictability are both necessary and beneficial for all employer/employee relationships, and education is no exception.
House Approves STEM Legislation
Members of the House approved amendments to HB 379, the bill establishing a computer science initiative in Idaho public schools. This legislation, sponsored by Rep. Reed DeMordaunt (R-Meridian), directs the STEM Action Center Board to work with the SDE and SBE to develop and implement a STEM initiative in public schools. The Senate will now be asked to consider HB 379a.
The full House also approved SB 1279, a bill that would create a STEM Education Fund to support initiatives and the work of the Idaho STEM Action Center. The Fund would be established through a one-time transfer of $10 million from the General Fund. This legislation now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature. If approved, JFAC will need to determine how much, if any, funding will be transferred to the newly-created fund.
Senate Passes Reading Bill
The Senate unanimously passed HB 526, a rewrite of Idaho law designed to help make sure kids read on grade level by the end of the third grade. The measure, which requires funding up to $10.7 million would provide for expanded reading interventions for struggling K-3 readers.
The bill now moves the Governor Otter’s desk. He’s expected to approve the measure, since it is the result of work done over the summer to address one of his task force recommendations. Once signed, JFAC will need to determine the level of funding to provide for FY 17.