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Eye On Boise

Thu., April 4, 2013, 10 a.m.

House debate: ‘The voters said no, so I’m saying no,’ ‘You just can’t get the job done’

Idaho House debates its final bill, a controversial measure to let school districts lower teacher pay from one year to the next, on Thursday (Betsy Russell)
Idaho House debates its final bill, a controversial measure to let school districts lower teacher pay from one year to the next, on Thursday (Betsy Russell)

The House is continuing to debate SB 1040a, the bill to let school districts cut teacher pay from one year to the next and make other changes to teacher contract law. “This bill comes substantially out of Proposition 1,” Rep. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, told the House. “When is this Legislature going to start listening to the people who elected us? I know, I hear it said, well, the people didn’t know what they were doing, they didn’t know what they were voting on. If that’s the case, then the people who voted for me didn’t know who they were voting for. … If we believe in democracy on some level, we have to accept the word of the people.”

Rep. Sue Chew, D-Boise, said, “The voters of the state of Idaho said no – so I’m saying no.”

Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, told the House, “How do we attract good teachers? I don’t think through bills like this one.” She said, “We send them a message that they’re really not at the top of our priority list at all. … I think we’re going to have a dickens of a time recruiting them with bills like this.”

Rep. Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls, spoke in favor of the bill. "School boards have been given the responsibility to manage their districts, but they are unable to appropriately manage 80 to 90 percent of the state general funds that come because there is law restricting reduction of salaries," she said. "To me that is like playing the piano and having 10 fingers available, but only being able to use one or two. You just can't get the job done."




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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