After two procedural challenges to HB 262 failed, House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, drew laughter in the House when he said, “You might’ve guessed I don’t like this bill.” Rusche said the bill’s provisions were rejected when all interests came together to negotiate consensus legislation on how to handle a financial emergency in Idaho’s schools. “Why, then, is it back before us?” he asked. Freezing teacher salary schedule movement for a year will permanently affect teachers’ eventual retirements, he said, a move that Rep. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, a lawyer, said creates legal problems. “It’s not necessary to poke teachers in the eye,” Rusche said. “This is unneeded and a divisive bill - it’s wrong for Idaho schools and the kids and families they serve.”
Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, the bill’s sponsor, told the House, “The purpose of this bill is to reduce the cost of the fiscal year 2010 public school appropriation. … What we’re trying to do is preserve the programs and the learning opportunities for the children.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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