This legislative session is gearing up to look a lot like 2011. You might remember that year…Superintendent Tom Luna brought forward three pieces of legislation touted as “education reform.” Ignoring public outcry, the legislation was signed into law. In November of this past year, more than 370,000 Idahoans soundly rejected each of those laws. Now, just over 100 days since the November election, a slew of bills looking very much like Proposition 1 have been reintroduced. Like famous baseball coach Yogi Berra said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”
House Bill 163 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/H0163.htm) outlines the criteria for the return of teacher contracts each year, including allowing the district to send individual contracts by email. It also sets time deadlines for returning individual contracts. The IEA supports this legislation.
House Bill 164 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/H0164.htm is reintroduced directly from Proposition 1. This measure requires all teacher contract negotiations be conducted in public. It also requires school districts to unilaterally impose contract terms (their “last best offer”) if a negotiated agreement is not reached by the arbitrary June 10 deadline. The IEA opposes this legislation.
House Bill 165 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/H0165.htm) codifies that districts implementing reduction in force (RIF) may consider seniority only in instances where two or more employees are “equal” after all factors, including individual performance, certifications and endorsements, student needs, school needs, subject matter, and shifting student populations are first considered. It also eliminates individualized due process hearing in a reduction in force situation. This legislation represents a modification of the language found in Proposition 1, which expressly prohibited use seniority as a factor. The IEA opposes this legislation.
Senate Bill 1038 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1038.htm) limits courts from considering new evidence, should a grievance or non-renewal hearing be challenged in district court. This is a concept not included in Proposition 1. The IEA believes the changes proposed in this legislation will have unintended consequences for districts, requiring an increased amount of time and financial resources. The IEA neither opposes nor supports this legislation.
Senate Bill 1089 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1089.htm) this bill would once again eliminate the Early Retirement Incentive Program. The IEA opposes this legislation.
Senate Bill 1090 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1090.htm) amends the current financial emergency law by adjusting the triggers that allow a school district to declare a financial emergency. IEA sponsored this legislation.
Senate Bill 1094 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1037.htm), limits master contracts to one year, except in the case of nonfinancial items which can be for two years if both parties agree. It also eliminates fact finding. The IEA opposes this legislation.
Senate Bill 1095 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1095.htm), several portions of which come directly from Prop 1, requires the local association to prove, annually if requested by the school board, that they represent 50 percent plus one of the certified employees in the district before they are allowed to negotiate for them, and it requires that both the association and the district show proof that the contract has been ratified by their respective members. This bill also allows for meditation, as long as the process is completed before the June 10th deadline. The IEA opposes this legislation.
Senate Bill 1096 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1096.htm) allows the school board trustees to reduce teacher salaries and/or contract length from one year to the next. While worded differently, than the language found in Prop 1, this bill would have the same effect. SB 1096 would eliminate continuing contracts and make all teachers at-will employees. The bill would also allow districts to put an employee on unpaid leave, if a criminal court order prevents the employee from doing his or her job while awaiting trial or a decision by a court of law. The IEA opposes this legislation.
Senate Bill 1098 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1098.htm) requires all negotiations between school districts and local associations to be conducted in public. The IEA sponsored this legislation.