Elected Officials Cite Teacher Feedback, Commit to Long-Term Funding
A new framework for teacher compensation became a reality today, as Governor Butch Otter signed Idaho’s five year Career Ladder legislation into law. IEA President Penni Cyr participated in the press conference along with leaders from the legislature and the State Board of Education.
“It is has the potential to be a very positive step in the right direction,” said Cyr after the gathering in the Governor’s office. “We are hopeful that this bill will represent a re-investment in public education in Idaho and a re-awakening on the part of policy-makers regarding the value of our teachers’ expertise and experience.”
Teacher voices provided major milestones in the process of crafting the Career Ladder policy, and the accompanying Tiered Certification piece. IEA members packed public hearings in the fall to express their displeasure with aspects of the original State Board proposal, leading to a first round of extensive modifications. And when the House Education Committee held a hearing on the proposed legislation, teachers again turned out to share their stories and experiences, as well as their frustration with parts of the bill.
To their credit, legislators listened to the feedback from teachers and made changes to the bill to minimize the impact of factors beyond the control of the classroom teacher, while still providing a potential pathway to increased compensation for teachers and stability for local districts. A series of meetings between the IEA and key legislators paved the way for compromise, and brought the effort to raise salary allocation levels to the finish line.
Governor Otter called the process “long and arduous”, then called the legislation “historic” and praised the collaborative effort and the fact that this policy is forward-looking. He then went on the record about future funding, saying “I am committed that I am going to be proposing full funding, within our means”. He also expressed his strong preference for protecting the state’s general fund from transportation bills and other initiatives.
“It’s a turning point for the education system in the state,” was the comment from House Speaker Scott Bedke. House Education Committee Chairman Reed DeMourdant praised the spirit of “understanding” that surfaced in the late stages of the process, while Senate Education Committee Chairman Dean Mortimer thanked professional educators for their insight and classroom teachers for the impact that they make each and every day.
For more information about the Career Ladder legislation and the process that brought it about, visit the IEA’s Career Ladder web page.