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Eye On Boise

Controversial ‘last best offer’ bill for teacher talks withdrawn

The most controversial of the Idaho School Boards Association’s array of bills this year to reinstate pieces of voter-rejected Proposition 1 has been withdrawn. Senate Education Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, asked for unanimous consent of the Senate to return HB 260, the “last best offer” bill, to committee, and no one objected. “This is at the request of the sponsors, both the school boards association and the administrators,” Goedde told the Senate.

The measure, which passed the House two weeks ago on a 55-14 vote, would have revived a provision from the “Students Come First” reform laws requiring that if school districts and their local teachers unions haven’t reached a contract agreement by June 10, the board unilaterally impose the terms of its “last best offer.” Opponents said it would turn the negotiation process on its head by giving one side the power to just wait the other out and win.

The rule was in effect last year, before voters rejected the “Students Come First” laws in three voter referenda; 22 Idaho school districts failed to reach agreement with teachers and unilaterally imposed contract terms.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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