SB 1148, the bill that would have allowed school districts to increase or decrease contract days and teacher salaries for any reason or no reason whatsoever, was rejected by the Senate Friday morning.
According to a report posted on Idaho Ed News, a few of the 19 senators who nixed the bill did so to protest the House of Representatives’ passage of the 2014 public schools appropriation.
SB 1148 was one of the many bills sponsored by the Idaho School Boards Association and the Idaho Association of School Administrators that were originally part of Proposition 1. School boards argued that the bill was necessary to assure school districts had the flexibility they needed to address budget needs.
The IEA introduced SB 1146 as an alternative. It would amend the financial emergency law, assuring that if school districts face serious budget shortfalls due to decreases in funding, they will be able to renegotiate cuts in teacher salaries and benefits. That bill has already passed the Senate on a unanimous vote 35-0 and was unanimously supported by the House Education Committee earlier this week. It now awaits a vote by the full House.
ACTION: Please contact the following legislators (http://legislature.idaho.gov/about/contactbyname.cfm) and thank them for their NO vote on SB 1148:
Sen’s. Cliff Bayer (R-Boise), Les Bock (D-Boise), Cherie Buckner-Webb (D-Boise), Dean Cameron (R-Rupert), Bart Davis (R-Idaho Falls), Branden Durst (D-Boise), Jim Guthrie (R-Pocatello), Brent Hill (R-Rexburg), Dan Johnson (R-Lewiston), Shawn Keough (R-Sandpoint), Roy Lacey (D-Pocatello), Fred Martin (R-Boise), Curt McKenzie (R-Nampa), Bob Nonini (R-Post Falls), Jim Rice (R-Caldwell), Dan Schmidt (D-Moscow), Michelle Stennett (D-Ketchum), John Tippets (R-Montpelier), and Eliot Werk (D-Boise).
House Approves Several Education Bills
Before heading home for this first weekend of spring, members of the House met earlier this morning and took action on several pieces of important education legislation.
HB 325 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/H0325.htm), Rep. Reed DeMordaunt’s (R-Eagle) bill limiting how districts can spend the newly restored 1.67 percent of teacher salary funds included in next year’s school budget, passed the House on a 44-20 vote.
The IEA opposes this legislation. HB 325 uses money that previously flowed through the salary-based apportionment to pay teachers and restricts the use of the money, even though local districts may prefer to use it to increase the salaries that were reduced in previous years.
The bill now moves to the Senate Education Committee.
HB 323 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/H0323.htm), the 2014 public schools budget, easily made its way through the House, though several Republican House members voted against the bill, mainly to protest the way the intent language included with the bill was developed.
This bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
The House also approved SB 1108, a non-education related bill, but one that is very important to the IEA.
SB 1108 ratchets up the requirements to qualify an initiative or referendum measure for the ballot by adding a requirement for signatures of 6 percent of registered voters in 18 of the state’s 35 legislative districts. Currently, the requirement is just for 6 percent of registered voters statewide.
Though proponents of the measure continue their claims that this legislation is in no way related to the November 2012 election, at least one House member, Rep. John Gannon (D-Boise) reminded his colleagues that the timing for this legislation after voters handily qualified three referendums for the ballot and then easily rejected the laws makes the bill suspect.
This bill now makes its way to the Governor’s desk.
ACTION: Contact Governor Otter and urge him to VETO SB 1108.
IEA Members Made a Difference
This week, IEA welcomed nearly 100 educators from all across the state to Boise. These dedicated members took a day away from their classrooms and work sites to take part in the legislative process and to share their concerns about the many pieces of education legislation working their way through the legislature.
Educators attended committee meetings (some even provided testimony) watched legislative action from the House and Senate galleries, and met one-on-one and in small groups with their representatives…and that work is paying off in big ways.
Thank you to those members who were able to take part in this lobbying effort. If you were unable to join them, you can still make sure your voice is heard. How?
Send a message to your senator this weekend. Urge him or her to vote NO on HB 260, the ISBA-sponsored bill that allows the school board to impose its last, best offer if negotiations are not completed by the arbitrary June 10th deadline outlined in the bill. Giving power to one party, especially when it comes to negotiations completely negates what can otherwise be a collaborative and mutually-beneficial process.
We can expect the Senate to vote on HB 260 next week. Don’t delay; contact your senator today!