The House Education Committee has killed legislation proposed by its chairman, Rep. Reed DeMordaunt, on a tied 8-8 vote, reports Clark Corbin of Idaho Education News; the bill, HB 307, sought to tie strings to the public schools budget specifying that the restoration of 1.67 percent previously cut from teacher salary funds couldn’t go to pay raises – it could only go to adding more staff or adding contract days. That’s the amount that was cut from salary-based apportionment, the main funding stream the state sends to districts for salaries, under the “Students Come First” laws to cover reform programs; the failure of those laws through three referendum measures in the November election brought the salary funding back, and it’s included in the school budget for next year set by the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee.
All the testimony at the committee hearing was against the bill; Adria Hultberg, a second-grade teacher, told the committee, “Really it feels like a slap in the face. That’s the way it feels to us as educators.” She said her salary was either frozen or cut over the past four years, costing her $10,000 a year; you can read Corbin’s full report here.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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