In what appeared to be an adult version of a temper tantrum (http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/boise/2013/mar/27/goedde-were-here-do-it-right-way), members of the Senate, led by Education Chairman John Goedde (R-CDA), took aim at HB 323, the 2014 Public Schools budget this morning and following several hours of debate about both the substance of the budget and the process used to develop it, mostly by members of the Senate Education Committee, the budget died on a 17-18 vote.
In his debate against the budget, Senator Goedde criticized a section of HB 323 that would have restored two years of experience on the teacher salary grid. He claimed that teachers have received as much as 9% increases in salaries over the past few years, unlike all other state employees. What he failed to acknowledge is that several years ago, when lawmakers made the painful decision to freeze teacher experience steps, a promise was made that when the economy began to turn around, those steps would be restored.
Goedde also argued that rather than provide money for teacher salaries, the state should be targeting funds to increase contract days and use those additional days to increase professional development. In his debate, the senator argued that the $12 million in HB 323 could purchase as many as three additional contract days.
Goedde further complained that the intent language directing the expenditure of $21 million for locally-directed ‘education excellence awards’ and $3 million for technology pilot projects was inadequate and insufficient.
He pointed his most withering comments toward the entire education system, telling senators, “I’m going to suggest to you that we’re pouring money into a broken system.”
Other Senate Education Committee members Dean Mortimer (R-Idaho Falls), Jim Patrick (R-Twin Falls), and Steven Thayn (R-Emmett) added further debate against HB 323. Each of them signaled their displeasure with the lack of discretionary funding and Sen. Mortimer, who sits on JFAC, further protested the lack of input from the education committees into the several areas of the budget, namely technology and education excellence awards.
Those Senators who voted in favor of the budget bill were: Sen’s. Bock (D-Boise), Buckner-Webb (D-Boise), Cameron (R-Rupert), Davis (R-Idaho Falls), Durst(D-Boise), Hill (R-Rexburg), Johnson (R-Lewiston), Keough (R-Sandpoint), Lacey (D-Pocatello), Lakey (R-Nampa), Lodge (R-Huston), McKenzie (R-Nampaa), Rice (R-Caldwell), Schmidt (D-Moscow), Stennett (D-Ketchum), Tippets (R-Montpelier), and Werk (D-Boise).
Senators who voted against the budget bill were: Sen’s. Bair (R-Blackfoot), Bayer (R-Boise), Brackett (R-Rogerson), Fulcher (R-Meridian), Goedde, Guthrie (R-Pocatello), Hagedorn (R-Meridian), Heider (R-Twin Falls), Martin (R-Boise), Mortimer, Nonini (R-Post Falls), Nuxoll (R-Cottonwood), Patrick, Pearce (R-New Plymouth), Siddoway (R-Terreton), Thayn, Vick (R-Dalton Gardens), and Winder (R-Meridian).
Senate Amends Away SB 1040; Replaces It with Brother of SB 1148
Late Wednesday afternoon the Senate amended SB 1040, basically reintroducing, save for an additional section, SB 1148.
The newly engrossed copy of SB 1040 had not been posted by the time this report was written, so our comments are based solely on the floor debate. Based on what we heard, it appears the bill would add two new “triggers” to allow school districts to shorten teacher contract days.
Trigger One: A district would be able to reduce contract days for the ensuing school year, if both the local association and the local school district come to agreement through the negotiations process and both parties ratify the agreement.
Trigger Two: If the amount of money a school district pays out in teacher salaries exceeds the amount of salary-based apportionment funding that a school district receives, the district would be allowed to unilaterally reduce contract days for the ensuing school year.
The newest version of SB 1040 would include a sunset clause, making it null and void on July 1, 2014.
The IEA has not had time to review this newest version of the bill. However, based on our understanding of the legislation, the second trigger still gives one party—the school board—the power to unilaterally impose changes to the contract without negotiating those changes. This is objectionable.
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