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State Ed Board unanimously backs new career ladder plan for teacher pay

Idaho’s state Board of Education today voted unanimously to endorse proposed legislation to set up a “career ladder” for Idaho teachers, phasing in big pay increases if teachers meet performance standards. Funding for base salaries for beginning teachers would rise from $31,750 to $40,000 over five years, and for top-level teachers, from $47,000 to $58,000 for those at the top level. There also would be pay increases for attaining higher levels of education, at three levels: Bachelor’s degree plus 24 credits; master’s degree; and doctorate; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com.

In the first year of the implementation of the career ladder, the 2015-16 school year, beginning teacher base pay would rise from $31,750 to $33,600. Top level teachers’ base pay would rise from $47,000 to $47,803. “It is a little weighted for those just entering the profession,” said board spokesman Marilyn Whitney. The career ladder plan would be in addition to the $16 million that school districts are now authorized to receive each year for leadership bonuses for teachers recognized by their districts for everything from mentoring to teaching dual-credit classes to earning additional endorsements.

“The career ladder represents a major step forward in how Idaho pays teachers,” said Board President Emma Atchley. “Idaho public school salaries would become more competitive with other states and the private sector. We believe this plan will be crucial in attracting and retaining great teachers and will significantly improve the quality of education for our students.” Richard Westerberg, another board member and chairman of the governor’s education improvement task force, which recommended the career ladder approach, said, “The need and time for higher salaries is now. The plan provides for robust, effective and meaningful teacher mentoring programs and would allow districts to reward their best teachers.”

The career ladder, if approved by lawmakers and signed into law by the governor, would replace the current salary grid in which the amount of funding the state sends districts for teacher pay bumps up based on factors including 14 experience levels and seven education levels. Full details of the new career ladder, including the proposed legislation, spreadsheets showing its year-by-year impact, and explanations, are online here at the state board’s website.




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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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