The Senate Education Committee has voted 6-2 in favor of SB 1089, to eliminate the early retirement incentive program for Idaho teachers. Sen. Cliff Bayer, R-Boise, said doing away with the incentive will save the state money. “Please, committee, realize the implications to the budget if action is not taken,” he said.
Robin Nettinga of the Idaho Education Association told the committee that 71 percent of teachers who retired between 1996 and 2009 used the program, and said the incentive saved the state money by replacing higher-paid teachers who were ready to retire early with lower-paid, starting teachers, years before that switch otherwise would have been made. Sen. Branden Durst, D-Boise, said, “I have concerns that this legislation may end up costing the state more money than is purported.” But only he and the committee’s other minority member, Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, D-Boise, voted against the bill, which now moves to the full Senate. Sen. Jim Patrick, R-Twin Falls, who made the motion to approve the bill, said, “We don’t offer this for other state employees.”