The IEA urges you to contact members of the House Education Committee THIS WEEKEND and tell them to VOTE NO on H0264,which will be heard Monday morning. This bill would effectively end collective bargaining for teachers in Idaho. Who’s next? The Firefighters and other unions? This is an unnecessary piece of legislation aimed at ending collective bargaining. The current collective bargaining process, put into law by the legislature in 2012, works well for both local associations and school districts. This legislation was not requested by any education group or reputable entity.
The IEA and local association presidents will be joined by school district leaders to testify against the bill Monday. We will explain to and show the committee exactly how the current process works and why it is effective and transparent. The legislation would replace the current process with a secret ballot that would actually make it more difficult to determine who is voting. Transparency would be gone.
The Idaho Freedom Foundation is behind this legislation. They frequently bring anti-union legislation thinly disguised as promoting transparency and fairness. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Dorothy Moon (R-Stanley). To testify or listen in, join Monday’s meeting at 8:30 AM in room EW41 of the Capitol. Streaming coverage available here.
To reiterate, no education groups have asked for, or support this legislation. In fact, the system currently in place works quite well for both districts and local associations. Please let members of the House Education Committee know that you oppose H0264!
State Board of Education to Get $1 Million for Evaluation Training
Idaho’s Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee voted to provide the State Board with $1 million to train school administrators in the state’s teacher evaluation process. That action puts oversight of the evaluations in the State Board’s hands rather than under the auspices of the State Department of Education. Superintendent Sherri Ybarra had requested $300,000 to provide training through the SDE, while the governor’s office had asked for $2.5 million for the State Board. While teacher evaluations themselves have been very good, the reporting process has come into question, which is especially important as the evaluations become a component in the Career Ladder teacher salary allocation plan. Read more about Friday’s JFAC meeting from Betsy Russell in the Spokesman-Review.
Education Issues Discussed at Public Forum
Teacher evaluations were among the topics discussed at an annual panel discussion hosted by Idaho Education News Friday. IEA member Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking was among the panelists, along with Boise School District Superintendent Don Coberly, Idaho School Boards Association Executive Director Karen Echeverria and Idaho Ed News reporter Clark Corbin. Echeverria said that only 60% of administrators statewide have gone through the current evaluation training.
Ward-Engelking and Echeverria highlighted the issue of Master Teacher Premiums, which were put into the Career Ladder as a compromise rather than fully funding the top tier. Both said that the they expect a fight from the legislature in the next couple of years over paying these premiums to veteran teachers who qualify for them. Ward-Engleking thinks the Master Teacher Premiums are very important. “The Career Ladder raised the minimum teacher salary for starting teachers, but it did very little to help us retain veteran teachers.”
Discretionary funding was also part of the discussion. Even with an increase in that bucket of money to help cover increasing health insurance costs and other expenses, including inflation, Ward-Engelking said the state is still falling short of its constitutional obligation to equitably fund public education. “It is not equal because some local levies pass and some don’t, which creates a system of haves and have-nots,” she said.