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Eye On Boise

Durst: ‘I’m wondering how this improves teacher morale’

Sen. Branden Durst, D-Boise, asked Idaho School Boards Association Executive Director Karen Echeverria about the recent Office of Performance Evaluations report that found a sense of “despair” among Idaho’s school teachers, and how the legislation she’s proposing to bring back parts of the “Students Come First” laws to limit teacher contract rights will affect that. After Echeverria described her association’s bill to repeal a state law that now prevents experienced teachers’ salaries from falling from one year to the next, Durst asked her, “I’m wondering how this improves teacher morale.”

“We certainly are not trying to defeat teacher morale,” Echeverria responded. “The school board members … really appreciate all the teachers that work in those districts. This is really about a management issue for the teachers, for those school board members.”

Sen. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett, asked Echeverria, “Could you explain why you would run into problems if teachers’ salaries can’t be reduced, or why they need to be reduced from time to time?”

Echeverria responded, “This is about long-term, prudent fiscal management for the school district. … If a supplemental levy were to fail, those sorts of things, they may not have enough money to actually pay the teacher on the grid that they have at the local school district.”

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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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