Former Rep. Branden Durst was the first person to testify today. He said teachers ought to be well compensated and districts should have the maximum amount of flexibility. Take the long view, he said; don't just look at FY2012, but FY2025. Think of children who are just starting school.
Julie Dillehay, Vailivue High counselor: Proposal would mean the loss of millions of dollars for growth-strapped districts. 45 kids in science classroom! Teachers can't teach at that level; they can only hope to manage. Raising the ratio would hurt Vallivue with a loss of as much as $1 million, place burden on trustees, who will probably have to raise levies.
Matt Barkley, Post Falls High band director: The budget cuts have hit school music community. Several districts have cut programs. Parents are being asked to help kids “pay for play.” Three choices: Restore K-12 budget, adopt Luna plan, or make more cuts. Please retore cuts and keep current policies,
Dennis Burt, business owner in Coeur d'Alene: I've seen good teachers and support staff demoralized by lack of input. Luna plan is flawed to the point of complete failure. Monies allocated at state level are not adequate for basic needs. Parents continually asked to vote for levies; teachers must write grant;s and students mus sell gift wrap and cookie dough to meet these needs.
Brian Smith, Sandpoint government teacher and the parent of three, “which is why I am here.” Questioned class sizes; geographical distances between schools mean it's hard to fully staff. 99 percent ADA protection is important so districts can plan and budget ahead. Without it, they may have layoffs in advance “just in case.” Fall layoffs would be even worse for students, if their teachers are laid off a few weeks into school.
Karen Mahoney, parent: Funding Luna's plan is setting Idaho and its children up for failure. “Please don't give my son a laptop. Send that money to my son's school.” Older son took an online class; it was a waste of his time and my money. Does anyone remember who Superintendent was in 1974? But I bet you can name your first-grade teacher. Don't make Idaho a place where teachers leave to find better opportunities.
Colby Gull, superintendent of Challis Schools: Doesn't agree with Tom Luna all the time, but likes aspects of this plan, especially pay-for-performance. Losing 99 percent will make them have to do things differently, but he and school board are prepared to do that.