Over the past few weeks, we have reported on the bills printed in the House and Senate Education Committees, progress made during several closed-door meetings with representatives of the administrators and school board associations, and the eventual rewriting and reprinting of bills. Today, we attempt to summarize the bills that legislators will be debating over the next few weeks, and we also provide you with the IEA position on each of these measures.
House Bill 163 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/H0163.htm) outlines the criteria for the return of teacher contracts each year, including allowing the district to send individual contracts by email. It also sets time deadlines for returning individual contracts. The IEA supports this legislation.
House Bill 164 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/H0164.htm is reintroduced directly from Proposition 1. This measure requires all teacher contract negotiations be conducted in public. It also requires school districts to unilaterally impose contract terms (their “last best offer”) if a negotiated agreement is not reached by the arbitrary June 10 deadline. The IEA opposes this legislation.
House Bill 165 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/H0165.htm) codifies that districts implementing reduction in force (RIF) may consider seniority only in instances where two or more employees are “equal” after all factors, including individual performance, certifications and endorsements, student needs, school needs, subject matter, and shifting student populations are first considered. It also eliminates individualized due process hearing in a reduction in force situation. This legislation represents a modification of the language found in Proposition 1, which expressly prohibited use seniority as a factor. The IEA opposes this legislation.
Senate Bill 1038 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1038.htm) limits courts from considering new evidence, should a grievance or non-renewal hearing be challenged in district court. This is a concept not included in Proposition 1. The IEA believes the changes proposed in this legislation will have unintended consequences for districts, requiring an increased amount of time and financial resources. The IEA neither opposes nor supports this legislation.
Senate Bill 1089 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1089.htm) this bill would once again eliminate the Early Retirement Incentive Program. The IEA opposes this legislation.
Senate Bill 1090 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1090.htm) amends the current financial emergency law by adjusting the triggers that allow a school district to declare a financial emergency. IEA sponsored this legislation.
Senate Bill 1094 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1037.htm), limits master contracts to one year, except in the case of nonfinancial items which can be for two years if both parties agree. It also eliminates fact finding. The IEA opposes this legislation.
Senate Bill 1095 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1095.htm), several portions of which come directly from Prop 1, requires the local association to prove, annually if requested by the school board, that they represent 50 percent plus one of the certified employees in the district before they are allowed to negotiate for them, and it requires that both the association and the district show proof that the contract has been ratified by their respective members. This bill also allows for meditation, as long as the process is completed before the June 10th deadline. The IEA opposes this legislation.
Senate Bill 1096 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1096.htm) allows the school board trustees to reduce teacher salaries and/or contract length from one year to the next. While worded differently, than the language found in Prop 1, this bill would have the same effect. SB 1096 would eliminate continuing contracts and make all teachers at-will employees. The bill would also allow districts to put an employee on unpaid leave, if a criminal court order prevents the employee from doing his or her job while awaiting trial or a decision by a court of law. The IEA opposes this legislation.
Senate Bill 1098 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1098.htm) requires all negotiations between school districts and local associations to be conducted in public. The IEA sponsored this legislation.
Committees Begin Hearing Bills Next Week
By some accounts, the 2013 legislative session is at the half-way point. There is still a great deal of work that must be completed between now and the end of the session, and the Education Committee chairs are ready to begin running the labor bills that were printed earlier this week.
Members of the House Education Committee (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/sessioninfo/2013/standingcommittees/hed.pdf) will hear HB 163 on Monday morning. This bill would allow districts to send individual contracts by email. The IEA supports this legislation, and we’ll be on hand to add our support to the measure.
On Tuesday afternoon, members of the Senate Education Committee (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/sessioninfo/2013/standingcommittees/sed.pdf) will debate SB 1089, the legislation sponsored by Senators Cliff Bayer (R-Boise) and Russ Fulcher (R-Meridian), to eliminate the Early Retirement Incentive Program (ERIP) for teachers. You may recall that this was part of the voter-repealed Prop 1. In place since 1996, the ERIP program has saved the state more than $90 million and has assured that teachers who left the profession mid-career to raise their families have been able to retire without penalty. The IEA will be opposing this legislation.
We expect even more of the bills to be scheduled for hearings later in the week. If you would like to attend one of the committee meetings to share your concerns with legislators, please contact your region director. We’ll be working with our region offices to assist in getting members to the hearings on these pieces of legislation.
Reminder: Monday Listening Session
Rep’s. Shirley Ringo (D-Moscow) and Phylis King (D-Boise) will be holding a special “Listening Session” for state employees and teachers on Monday afternoon from 4-6 pm in EW42 at the Capitol. They are inviting all public employees to the event. We encourage you to take a few hours out of your holiday and support other public employees.