The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved HB 311 Monday. This omnibus bill will increase the gas tax, decrease the income tax rate for Idaho’s wealthiest citizens, remove the grocery tax credit, and eliminate the tax on food.
Those debating against the bill reminded lawmakers that with the passage of HB 296—the career ladder teacher pay system—the legislature had made a commitment to pump more than $125 million into teacher salaries over the next five years.
Those voting in favor of the bill declared that the legislation would make Idaho more competitive. The bill was just three votes shy of a party line vote. Only three Republicans: Reps. Neil Anderson (R-Blackfoot), Gayle Batt (R-Wilder), and Wendy Horman (R-Idaho Falls) broke ranks and voted with the Democratic block against the bill. The bill now moves to the Senate for their consideration.
ACTION: IEA members are urged to contact members of the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee! Remind them that the general fund is the only revenue source available for the state to fund public schools. Ask them to put public schools first by rejecting this proposal that would take significant revenue from the state’s general fund. Ask them to hold HB 311 in committee.
Is the Career Ladder Good for Teachers?
No doubt. Changing the way the state allocates funding for teacher pay can be complicated business. The modifications may mandate significant investment in time and money. As a result of legislation passed during the 2015 session, Idaho will move from a salary allocation model that bases funding on the experience and education levels of teachers to one that bases funding largely on student growth and teacher performance. While this is a significant paradigm shift, there are advantages.
The following chart is intended to compare and contrast the current system with the Career Ladder system and further outline the impacts of the new system that will take effect on July 1, 2015.
|Topic||Current System||Career Ladder System||Impact|
|Grid Structure||98 individual cells||13 individual cells during implementation; after 2020 the cells will be reduced to 8||The Career Ladder model will provide the maximum salary allocation in a much shorter period of time. Depending upon the salary schedule adopted at the local level, it is likely that an individual teacher could reach the maximum compensation level earlier, ensuring a bigger overall lifetime salary, boosting retirement benefits.|
|Education||Additional funding flows to the district as individual teachers earn additional credits and degrees.||Additional funding flows to the district as individual teachers earn 24 credits beyond a BA or a Master’s Degree.||Though the state will recognize fewer credits and degrees for the purpose of reimbursement to districts, the amount a district will receive for those teachers who hold a Master’s Degree is significantly more than is currently received.|
|Experience||Additional funding flows to the district for each year of teaching experience—up to 13 years—a teacher has||Additional funding flows to the district as individual teachers become more experienced—up to 8 years (at full implementation) and as long as the teacher receives an “overall proficient” mark on his/her evaluation and at least 50% of his/her students reach their measurable growth targets (which are decided at the local district level).||Experience continues to be credited under the Career Ladder system; however, additional accountability measures are included. In any year that an individual teacher does not receive an “overall proficient” or reach his/her students’ measurable growth targets, salary allocation for that individual will be frozen.|
|National Board Certification||School districts receive $2,000 each year for the first five (5) years that a teacher holds National Board Certification. Those funds are passed on to the teacher who earned the certification.||School districts receive $2,000 each year for the first five (5) years that a teacher holds National Board Certification. Those funds are passed on to the teacher who earned the certification.||Under the new Career Ladder system, the state continues to acknowledges and reward teachers who have earned National Board certification.|
|Teacher Leadership Premiums||The school district receives funding ($850 per full-time equivalent certificated staff member) to reward those who are providing leadership for certain activities determined by the school board.||The school district receives funding ($850 per full-time equivalent certificated staff member) to reward any certificated staff member providing leadership for certain activities determined by a committee consisting of teachers, administrators and other school district stakeholders and approved by the school board.||Under the Career Ladder structure, it is required that teachers be involved in the decisions about what specific activities will be considered for Leadership Premiums each year. Instructional staff and Pupil Service Staff are eligible to receive Leadership premiums.|
|Master Teacher Premiums||There is no provision in the current law for bonuses for master teachers.||Beginning in FY19, the state will provide $4,000 for instructional staff—or groups of instructional staff members—who have met certain qualifications that will be determined at the local level and approved by the State Board of Education||The Career Ladder structure requires that teachers be involved in the development of the local plan to determine what will be required for teachers to earn Master Teacher Premiums. Pupil Service Staff cannot currently receive this premium, but will be rolled into this system on July 1, 2016, if another system is not developed for them.|
|Professional Endorsement||Under current law, an individual who has taught three years in the same district will earn continuing contract status upon the receipt of his/her fourth teaching contract from that district.||Under the Career Ladder system, an individual who has taught three years in the same district must earn continuing contract status through the receipt of a Professional Endorsement. At the end of his/her third year, if s/he: (a) has held a residency certificate for at least 3 years; (b) has met the performance criteria for 2 of the last 3 years; (c) has a written recommendation from the employing school district; (d) has an individualized professional learning plan (IPLP), the teacher will be eligible for a Professional Endorsement.||The new system creates a two-tiered certification system (Residency tier and Professional tier). Even if a teacher is unable to meet the criteria necessary to receive his/her Professional Endorsement, s/he cannot lose his/her certificate to teach.|
|Administrator Evaluation Training||Currently, State Board of Education rules require that by 2017, all administrators be trained on how to properly evaluate teachers using the state adopted evaluation model. Administrators need only complete an online TeachScape training once during their careers to meet the training requirement.||Administrators will be required to take a three-credit course in how to properly evaluate teachers under the state adopted teacher evaluation model each time the individual administrator recertifies (every 5 years).||Teachers’ compensation will—in part—be determined by his/her individual evaluation. Consequently, it is imperative that every administrator have the skills and ability to accurately and appropriately evaluate teachers. This added requirement will help ensure that teacher evaluations accurately reflect their strengths|
|Administrator Evaluation Audits||There is currently no system in place to ensure that administrators are utilizing the adopted teacher evaluation model with fidelity.||The State Department of Education is tasked with selecting a random sample of administrators and then conducting a random audit of those individuals’ evaluation documents to be sure they are implementing the state evaluation with fidelity.||The requirement for heightened and ongoing training for administrators coupled with a random review of whether the evaluation system is being used properly is intended to give teachers confidence that they are being properly evaluated.|
|Funding||Over the past decade, legislators have focused attention on increasing the minimum teacher salary, while providing minimal increases to the base salary, resulting in little improvement to the current base salary for teachers.||If the Career Ladder is fully-funded over the next five years (which is outlined in the bill), school districts will receive significantly more each year for teacher salaries.||It has been many years since districts could count on receiving a 3% increase on the base salary. Even assuming the state provided a 3% increase to the base salary in the current grid over the next 5 years; districts would still receive significantly more funding under the Career Ladder system.|
|Annual salary increases||The salary schedule adopted through negotiations in many districts tied pay increases to additional state funding of the base salary. Because of the way the current grid is designed, every time the state raised the minimum teacher salary and did not increase the base salary caused more and more teachers to earn the same amount for years.||Individual teacher salaries are still determined through the bargaining process at the local level, but the structure outlined in the new Career Ladder no longer differentiates between a base salary and a minimum salary: the two are one in the same.||Under the Career Ladder system, if the state increases the base salary that will automatically increase the minimum salary. This will assure an increase of funding throughout the grid; and, those additional funds will allow districts to disperse that money throughout their locally-developed salary schedules to the benefit of all teachers.|
|Bargaining||Compensation and benefits are required to be bargained annually at the local level||Compensation and benefits are required to be bargained annually at the local level||No changes to current requirements for the local school district to bargain teacher salaries and benefits|
President Cyr to Talk Career Ladders on Tuesday
IEA President Penni Cyr will be a guest on 670 KBOI radio on Tuesday, March 31st at 4:30-5:00 pm MDT. Penni will be talking with radio host Nate Shelman about the career ladders legislation and other education-related matters being addressed this legislative session. If you are unable to tune in, we will post a link to her interview on the IEA webpage and other social media after the event.