Eye On Boise

Teachers object, Nonini not moved

Idaho teachers oppose a proposed salary plan allowing them to trade tenure for more pay and want to play a role in considering alternatives, S-R reporter Parker Howell reports, and they told lawmakers that this morning. At an informational hearing in the Gold Room on HB 294, school administrators said they support the alternative model, which offers at least $3,000 more to teachers to give up their continuing contracts, because it will boost pay and help them attract better employees. But teachers said they have been conspicuously absent from formulating complex and unjust legislation. "None of the professionals who will be directly affected by this legislation were consulted during this drafting," said Sherri Wood, president of the Idaho Education Association. "Involvement of those who are directly affected by the new compensation system is critical to its success."

About 25 teachers attended the informal hearing, Howell reported. House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, designed the plan in part to make it easier for districts to fire poor educators. He wants the proposal to be discussed over the summer for consideration next year.

House Education Committee Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, said elected officials, not teachers, are stakeholders in the issue because they set the nearly $1.4 billion public schools budget, Howell reported. "I get frustrated when I hear the IEA and somewhat of the administrators refer to themselves as the stakeholders," Nonini said. "They are the employees of the people of Idaho. When we spend that kind of money in a system, we can make those decisions. If the decisions we make aren't the right decisions, then we can be challenged in elections every two years as many of us are."




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