The House and Senate Education Committees will hear from members of the public at a joint public hearing 8 AM – 10:30 AM this Friday, February 1. This is an opportunity for the public to come and share their concerns with legislators about education issues. We expect the conversation to be wide-ranging and include concerns about charter schools, guns in schools, the education budget, reintroduction of many of the tenets outlined in the recently repealed Prop 1, and more.
You are encouraged to attend this meeting. Also encourage friends, parents, and neighbors to attend and testify. If you are unable to make the meeting, you can still weigh in by emailing your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com.
IEA President Penni Cyr will make brief comments about a variety of issues from the education budget to IEA’s recently released “Ensuring a World Class Education for Every Idaho Child” (www.idahoea.org/recommendations) education reform recommendations and more. The IEA has also made a request of the House and Senate Education chairs to hold an evening hearing, so teachers who live nearby can testify without having to take a day off work, leave their classrooms, and disrupt the learning process for students. If a meeting is scheduled, we’ll be sure to share that information with you.
Prop 1 Replacement Bills Assigned Numbers
Late this afternoon, all seven of the bills that bring back large portions of Prop 1 and continue to erode teachers’ rights and the opportunity to be treated in a respectful and fair manner received bill numbers. The IEA sat down this afternoon with representatives from the school administrators association, school boards association, PTA, and the chairs of the education committees to see if there might be areas for compromise among the various parties. No final decisions were made, and the conversations are set to continue next week.
As a reminder:
House Bill 67 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/H0067.htm is pulled directly from Proposition 1. This measure requires all teacher contract negotiations be conducted in public. It also allows school districts to unilaterally impose contract terms if a negotiated agreement is not reached by the arbitrary June 10 deadline.
House Bill 68 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/H0068.htm) outlines the criteria for the return of teacher contracts each year, including allowing the district to send contracts by email.
House Bill 69 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/H0069.htm) codifies that districts implementing reduction in force will consider seniority only after all other factors, including individual performance, certifications and endorsements, student needs, school needs, subject matter, and shifting student populations are first considered.
Senate 1037 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1037.htm) limits master contracts to one year. It also eliminates fact finding.
Senate 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. Additionally, it allows districts to put an employee on unpaid leave, if a court order prevents the employee from doing his or her job while awaiting trial or a decision by a court of law.
Senate 1039 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1039.htm) requires the local association to prove, annually, that they represent 50 percent plus one of the certified employees in the district before they are allowed to negotiate for them. It also requires both the association and the district to show proof that the contract has been ratified by their respective members.
Senate 1040 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1040.htm) allows the trustees to reduce teacher salaries and/or contract length from one year to the next.
Send an Email and Pick up the Phone!
It’s important that you continue contacting members of the Senate and House Education Committees (http://legislature.idaho.gov/about/contactbycommittee.cfm). It is especially valuable if your representative or senator is a member of one of these committees. You are their constituent and they will pay closer attention to your comments. In 2011, thousands of citizens attended committee hearings, made phone calls, and wrote emails urging lawmakers to listen to the stakeholders. This week’s action repeats the same failed process that caused voters to repeal the Propositions in November. Tell your lawmakers that the process matters.
Does your local school board agree with the action of their state organization? Call your local school board members. Remind them of the message Idaho voters sent in November and urge them to share their concerns with members of the ISBA Executive Committee.