This November, Idaho voters will have a chance to overturn the three harmful education laws passed last year by voting No on Propositions 1, 2, and 3. But the State Department of Education and its allies in the Statehouse and beyond today introduced four pieces of legislation to embellish and tweak these unpopular laws.
This morning, the House Education Committee heard what amounted to a thinly veiled advertisement for the reforms as former Caldwell Superintendent Roger Quarles, now at Boise State, spoke about the Idaho Leads program for education collaboration. The Idaho Statesman did a Page 1 article about the program on Sunday; read it here.
Also this morning, the House Education Committee printed a bill that would remove a requirement in the new Pay for Performance plan that teachers rewarded for their leadership have at least three years of experience. The plan, which Idaho voters can overturn via Proposition 2 this year, takes money away from the base salary pool to fund bonuses. State Superintendent Tom Luna urged the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee to backfill $19.4 million from salary based apportionment to cover the costs of bonus pay and the technology mandates for Fiscal Year 2013 only.
This afternoon, the Senate Education Committee agreed to print three bills brought by the State Department of Education which would modify each of the three pieces of unpopular legislation passed last year.
The first proposal makes numerous changes to S1108, which will be on the ballot as Proposition 1 this November. It changes the word “includes” to the phrase “is limited to” for discussion of benefits that can be negotiated by the local education association, after the Idaho Education Association pointed out last month that “includes” was broader. It also provides for electronic delivery of a personnel contract and gives an employee no more than 21 days to respond before the board (or its designee, a nebulous term) can declare the position vacant.
The second proposal corrects the formula for sending money to school districts to fund the new math and science requirements; clarifies that students who complete all graduation requirements before twelfth grade or in the first semester/trimester of their final year may earn state-paid dual credits; limits parents’ ability to enroll their child in an online course without school district or public charter school permission; and details how online course providers will report average daily attendance. These all affect last year’s S1184, which will be on the ballot as Proposition 3 this November.
The third proposal makes more changes to last year’s S1110, on the ballot as Proposition 2 this year. Its impacts would include clarifying that bonuses would be included in earnings for PERSI, and assuring that districts will receive their PFP funds no later than the third state payment, which typically arrives in November of each year.