With no debate or discussion, the Senate has passed HB 698, the teacher salary bill, on a 28-7 party-line vote. That's the House version of the bill to cancel future cuts required by the “Students Come First” reform law in teacher salary funds, in order to pay for the law's initiatives including laptop computers and merit-pay bonuses for teachers. The House bill also declares those initiatives the top funding priorities in the school budget, and requires that whenever teacher base salaries are increased, the minimum teacher salary must rise by twice the percentage. The bill now goes to the governor.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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