As the Idaho legislature convenes for the 2017 session, IEA staff and lobbyists will be at the Capitol to advocate for teachers, students, and public education. We will keep you informed of new developments and reach out to you when opportunities arise for member input and public comment. There are several issues likely to be addressed that educators will want to become informed about and track. Topics worth watching in this session include:
- Career Ladder. This is the third year of the Career Ladder salary allocation plan designed to help Idaho retain and recruit quality teachers. Year three is scheduled to be the largest infusion of funding into the plan. It is imperative that legislators fund this third year of the plan and make good on the promise they made to Idaho’s teachers and students.
- Teacher Evaluations. A recent report raised questions about Idaho’s teacher evaluation process. The IEA will remind Legislators that a flawed process does not reflect on teacher quality, and continue to work with education stakeholders to establish an evaluation process that is fair, efficient and manageable.
- School Choice. As in previous years, we anticipate proposals that Idaho establish more charter schools and pursue school choice/voucher options. It is imperative that every child have access to a quality education and an opportunity to succeed. The IEA does not support any legislation that undermines or diminishes our public education system.
- Master Teacher Premium/Pupil Service Staff. There will be changes made to existing Idaho Code to ensure that Pupil Service Staff are eligible to receive the Master Teacher Premium outlined in the Career Ladder salary allocation plan.
- Innovation Schools. This was legislation passed last year that allowed traditional public schools and charter schools to “opt-out” of state, local and federal provisions. This legislation will be reviewed this year. The IEA opposed this legislation last year and will be watching closely this year as changes are made to ensure that proper oversight and approval are mandated for districts seeking Innovation School status.
- Discretionary Funding. Money allocated to districts for additional services for students, salaries and benefits for teachers and staff and other locally determined expenses is stuck at 2009 levels. IEA, along with other education stakeholders has made bringing discretionary funding up to 2017 levels, including inflation, one of our highest priorities.
Revenue Projections for 2017-18
Idaho’s Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee has approved Governor Otter’s revenue forecasts for 2016-17 and 2017-18. Read more in this story from Idaho Education News.