Veteran teachers in Idaho may be seeing long overdue pay raises if legislation introduced in the House Education Committee can make its way through the legislature in the coming days. Officially title the Advanced Professional Educator Pay bill, it proposes adding $225 million to the existing Career Ladder salary education framework over the next five years, including $30 million in 2020-2021.
“This legislation represents a step in the right direction for our dedicated veteran educators,” says IEA President Layne McInelly. “We appreciate Governor Little and the Our Kids, Idaho’s Future task force prioritizing teacher pay and encourage the legislature to follow suit.”
The Career Ladder has helped Idaho raise starting teacher pay to more competitive levels, but Idaho’s most experienced educators have largely been left behind. Many veteran teachers have reported that their pay has increased very little, or not all, over the last 10-20 years. As a result, Idaho has teacher attrition rates that are among the highest in the nation.
In putting the bill forward, Gov. Little’s Senior Education Policy Adviser, Greg Wilson, noted that “an effective teacher is the primary contributor to student achievement in the classroom.” The governor also released an opinion piece promoting the multi-year plan to improve teacher pay.
The Advanced Professional Educator Pay bill is expected to return to the House Education Committee for a full hearing sometime next week. It must pass the committee and the full House before being transmitted to the Senate, so it is still a long way from becoming law. Contact members of the House Education Committee and let them know you want them to vote yes when the bill has a full hearing.
In order to qualify for the Advanced Professional Educator endorsement, educators would have to meet benchmarks related to student growth, building or district leadership, and the highest possible rating on their annual evaluation. There are also built in accountability measures for the administrators conducting the evaluations.
“This kind of commitment to Idaho’s educators and students is certainly a positive step,” says McInelly. “However, we have a long way to go in providing the resources that will enable us to build the Schools Our Students Deserve. Idaho remains at or near the bottom in almost every education funding category, including per-pupil funding.”
For more information about the specifics of the teacher pay legislation and updates on the timetable of its path through the legislature, sign up for the IEA Hotline, our email update on developments related to education policy during the legislative session.