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Controversial ed bill clears committee

House Education Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, urges the House Education Committee to back his bill freezing the teacher salary grid for a year and phasing out an early retirement incentive. The committee voted 10-6 on Tuesday to pass the bill and send it to the full House; it's one of three bills Nonini is sponsoring to suspend or change state laws to allow school budget cuts. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
House Education Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, urges the House Education Committee to back his bill freezing the teacher salary grid for a year and phasing out an early retirement incentive. The committee voted 10-6 on Tuesday to pass the bill and send it to the full House; it's one of three bills Nonini is sponsoring to suspend or change state laws to allow school budget cuts. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

After more than a two-hour debate, the House Education Committee has voted 10-6 in favor of HB 262, legislation from the committee's chairman, Rep. Bob Nonini, to freeze teacher salaries on the salary grid for a year and to phase out an early retirement incentive. Opponents said the one-year freeze  would actually be a permanent hit to teachers' earnings, affecting not only their future earnings but their retirement. "For some teachers that are close to retirement, yes, it might affect the amount of PERSI that they'll receive for the rest of their lives," Nonini told the panel. But, he said, "What we do affects every state employee." Education groups that opposed the bill contrasted it with HB 252, a consensus bill developed by a bipartisan committee, endorsed by educators and sponsored by Nonini, to allow temporary cuts in school funding. Rep. Liz Chavez, D-Lewiston, said that bill covered the needed cuts, and opposed HB 262. "I think it will seriously undermine the Idaho school districts' efforts to recruit and retain good teachers," she said.

The bill is one of three to ease education cuts by suspending or changing state laws. In addition to HB 262 and HB 252, another measure, HB 256, also sponsored by Nonini, that cuts state reimbursement to school districts for student busing, cleared the Education Committee yesterday and is pending in the House.




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Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.