Those testifying so far at this afternoon’s listening session have included two charter school representatives, both of whom appealed for more funding for charters; several school district administrators, who appealed for resources and more attention to teacher recruitment and retention; a school board chairman who asked for enactment of the Idaho School Boards Association’s proposals to revive voter-rejected limits on teacher collective bargaining; and an elementary school teacher who spoke against doing that.
“If not for the federal stimulus money that we had over three years, our doors would be closed,” Dan Nicklay, principal of Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy told the House and Senate Education committees.
Brian Duncan, chairman of the Minidoka School Board, said, “I’m tired of being told I’m not listening to voters. … I’m tired of sitting on committees with the union and being subjected to their stonewalling and delay tactics.” He said the new teacher contract bills from the Idaho School Boards Association are “good management practices,” saying that school board members “put in countless hours of unpaid time – we do it because we love our kids.”
Sandy Merrick, an elementary school teacher from Boise with 20 years experience, said her classroom was up to 32 students last year, but dropped to 28 this year because local voters passed a tax override. “Idaho school districts should not have to resort to supplemental property tax levies to make up the deficit in public school funding from the state,” she said. She added, “Resurrecting parts of Prop 1 just months after 57 percent of voters said ‘no’ to it insults teachers and undermines the democratic process.”