The probable next-to-last week of the 2012 Idaho Legislature got off to a fast start today, with a special speaker in the education committees and the House chair’s move to kill a Senate bill to stop the raid on Idaho teacher salaries.
2012 Idaho Teacher of the Year and IEA member Erin Lenz of Coeur d’Alene spoke to the House and Senate Education Committees in a visit arranged by the Idaho Education Association. Lenz spoke about how it’s critical to help at-risk or struggling readers in the early primary grades, when intervention is more effective and less costly. She also outlined the steps that her school, Winton Elementary, has taken to attain a 99 percent proficient or advanced levels in reading on the Idaho Standardized Achievement Test. Read more here.
Also in the House Education Committee today, Rep. Bob Nonini (R-Coeur d’Alene) introduced a bill in response to S1331. Sen. Dean Cameron (R-Rupert) introduced the latter to ensure that salary-based apportionment would not be raided to fund the technology and pay-for-performance mandates passed by the 2011 Idaho Legislature, but Nonini’s bill would eliminate the shift only for Fiscal 2013 (which the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee effectively already did with the budget it passed last week).
According to Betsy Russell at Eye on Boise, Nonini said the current Legislature “is simply not in possession of a revenue forecast for FY14 that would enable it to make such a decision with confidence. This legislation, therefore, leaves that decision to the 2013 Legislature, which will be in a much better position to evaluate the economy one year from now.”
But Nonini’s move also means that Idaho voters will have a clear choice this November, since the salary funds took a hit for the current school year and are now on track to be raided every year beyond next year. Voting NO on Propositions 1, 2, and 3 this November will end this raid, keep class sizes smaller, and ensure better individual attention for students.
This Wednesday, Nonini’s committee will hold a hearing on H646, the bill from Rep. Brian Cronin (D-Boise) to increase transparency into Education Management Organizations. The meeting will start at 8:30 a.m. in Room EW41 of the Capitol’s Garden Level, and the public is welcome to testify.
The Senate passed the resolution congratulating the Idaho Education Association on its 120th anniversary.
The House passed H603, which restores some funding protection that school districts lost in the “Students Come First” reforms. Under the bill, districts would collectively self-insure to protect themselves from steep funding drops due to enrollment declines from one year to the next.
Representatives also passed H633, which allows more flexibility in accessing a special fund for school replacement in districts where voters repeatedly turn down bonds to replace condemned structures.