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Eye On Boise

Fri., March 8, 2013, 7:23 a.m.

Final votes taken, school budget now can move to House, Senate

Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, proposed a substitute motion on the intent language for the public schools budget, in an attempt to ensure that teachers and their associations have a voice in local school district plans to distribute performance bonuses to teachers next year.  Her alternative wording leaves in place a clause right after that saying, “Such plan shall not be subject to collective bargaining, any other provision of law notwithstanding.”

The budget that JFAC set for public schools for next year includes $21 million, of which up to 40 percent is to go to professional development, and the rest to one-time bonuses for teachers based on standards set by local school districts. Ringo said since the bonus plans wouldn’t be subject to collective bargaining, she wanted to ensure that teachers associations weren’t closed out of involvement in them.

Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, said his original wording already attempted to do that. It says, “All plans shall be approved by the local board of trustees, including evidence that the plan was developed with input from the principal, teachers, and certificated employees at each school.”

Ringo's motion was voted down on a 5-14 vote, with the joint committee's four Democrats and Sen. Dan Johnson, R-Lewiston, supporting it. The original motion, with Cameron's wording, then was approved on a 15-4 vote, with Sens. Cliff Bayer and Steven Thayn and Reps. Ringo and Phylis King opposing it.

The final motion on the intent language, covering the classroom technology money, passed on a 16-3 vote, with opposition from Thayn, Bayer and Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll. That brings a close to the action in JFAC on the public school budget, which was set on Monday; the budget bill now can move to the House and Senate and, if passed there, to the governor's desk.

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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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