Minimum Starting Salary Bill Passes the House
A bill that would set a minimum starting teacher salary of $40,000 beginning in 2020-2021, with an intermediate minimum of $38,500 next year, passed the House by a 61-9 margin. HB 153 is part of Gov. Brad Little’s effort to boost compensation in hopes of mitigating Idaho’s problems with teacher recruitment. The legislation now moves to the Senate for action from that chamber. HB 153 would require a $3.8 million investment next year and a $7.6 million the following year, but proponents are confident it will move the needle in helping the state attract new teachers for the growing population. The IEA supports this legislation but has also spoken with the Governor’s office about the need for addressing the retention piece of the teacher shortage with increased compensation for veteran teachers.
Latest on Public School Funding Formula
February is behind us and the Idaho Legislature has yet to introduce legislation that would overhaul the way Idaho’s public schools are funded. Lawmakers worked for three years in an interim committee dedicated to the formula revamp and education stakeholders expected a bill to emerge this session. So far, a number of pieces of draft legislation have been floated, with the IEA weighing in on changes to protect contract rights, bargaining assurances, and local district flexibility. It is still not clear when a final draft will be ready for introduction. The IEA has attended meetings almost daily where details of the proposal are being hammered out.
The bill, once finalized, will be introduced in the House Education committee where many lawmakers will get their first look at the new formula. House Education Chairman Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls, indicated he will provide his committee with an update on the bill’s progress on Monday, March 4th. You can listen to the discussion live here. The committee discussion will begin at 8:30 am in WW17 in the capitol.
Bill to Require Parental Opt-Ins for Sex Education Classes Passes House Education Committee
A bill sponsored by Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls requiring that parents opt-in their students for sex education classes and other classes which might include sexual content passed the House Education Committee along party lines—a 12-3 margin. Ehardt maintained the legislation is about consent rather than content, about parental rights and involvement, and reflected Idaho family values.
The IEA and ISBA, along with other groups and individuals, opposed the bill on grounds that it is overly vague, will create barriers to important sex education classes, and could be burdensome to teachers and administrators. Ehardt herself even noted it will put more responsibility on teachers and schools to track down parents regarding opt-in forms. HB 120 now moves to the House floor for action.
House State Affairs Committee Introduces Guns-In-Schools Legislation
A bill proposed by Rep. Chad Christensen, R-Ammon, would allow people above the age of 21 who hold an enhanced-carry firearms license to carry their weapons on school grounds with no restrictions. After some 30 minutes of discussion, which is unusual for a print hearing, the committee voted to introduce the legislation. That will bring it back to the committee for a full discussion, likely including passionate public testimony, in the near future.
In the interest of safety for students and educators, the IEA opposes permitting guns on school grounds, with the exception of School Resource Officers and other law enforcement officials. You can read more about the introduction of HB 203 in this story from Idaho Education News.
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