Senate Panel Clears Path for Referendum Bill
At the end of a third day of public testimony and on a party line vote, the Senate State Affairs Committee sent SB 1108 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1108.htm), the bill to make it tougher to qualify initiatives or referendum measures for the Idaho ballot, to the floor with a “do pass” recommendation.
The IEA told the committee that the timing of this legislation has caused frustration among IEA members and the general public. He urged the committee to avoid further increasing cynicism and apathy of citizens toward government by rejecting SB1108.
Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill (R-Rexburg), who serves on the committee, acknowledged the sensitivity of the issue and explained that legislative support for SB 1108 was not intended in any way to be construed as an act of retribution toward the IEA for their efforts to repeal Propositions 1, 2, and 3.
The bill now moves to the full Senate.
ACTION: Please contact your senator and urge a NO vote on SB 1108.
Open Negotiations Bill Clears Another Legislative Hurdle
The House Education Committee voted to send SB 1098 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1098.htm), the IEA-sponsored bill that requires all negotiations between school districts and teachers associations to be open to the public, to the full House.
The IEA introduced this legislation earlier in the session as an alternative to an ISBA-sponsored bill.
The bill now moves to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to easily pass.
IEA Discusses Funding Bill
Members of the Senate Education Committee continued deliberations on several pieces of the JFAC-approved budget. Stakeholders were asked to provide comments on the JFAC decision to provide $21 million in one-time money for Excellence in Achievement Awards/Professional Development.
The IEA provided the following statement:
We’ve been uncomfortable with all pieces of legislation resembling the three voter-rejected Propositions. We’ve stood before the education committee several times and pointed this out, and you can expect that we’ll continue to do so.
In some instances, we’ve realized a level of comfort when legislation has included one-year sunsets. That’s the case with the JFAC funding.
We believe the one-time expenditure of $21 million with certain deadlines will assure the Governor’s Task Force has time and space to continue to do their work.
Our organization has been on record for a number of years with our support for alternative forms of compensation. We reiterated that support earlier this year with the release of our document, Ensuring a World Class Education for Every Idaho Child (http://idahoea.org/recommendations).
This white paper outlines a number of research-based recommendations for transforming our public schools. Included in that document is the issue of alternative compensation.
In part, the document states:
The IEA is committed to encouraging, recognizing, and rewarding excellence in teaching because it leads to increased student achievement. Changing the way school employees are paid is complex and affects thousands of people. If done well, it can drive positive change. If done poorly, it can create dissention and dysfunction throughout the state. We believe the best alternative structures can be created at the local level and be created in cooperation with those who will be affected by the changes.
The paper also includes several salary-related recommendations, including the encouragement to local school districts to collaborate with employees to determine whether to implement alternative compensation programs at the local school district level.
We are hopeful that this one-time infusion of $21 million will allow local districts to create and innovate in a way that is most acceptable to their employees and their community. Hopefully, we’ll all learn some things in the process and the Governor’s Task Force will be able to use the findings of the various districts and combine those with public sentiment and research to help develop a roadmap for Idaho.