HB 504, legislation co-sponsored by Reps. Lance Clow and Julie VanOrden and a bipartisan group of 13 other lawmakers to grant $15.8 million in leadership bonuses to Idaho teachers next year, has passed the House on a 62-6 vote. “We feel that this addition to our education program will reward teachers and help our students improve,” VanOrden told the House. The bonuses are a piece of a recommendation from the governor’s education improvement task force to create a new career leader that would sharply increase Idaho teacher pay. The career ladder is still in the works. VanOrden said, “We would add the career ladder later. Basically, it’s to keep the momentum going.” She said she didn’t want to “lose the momentum that we have from the task force.”
Local school boards would decide who gets how much, under the bill. The awards would be for such factors as teaching advanced courses and mentoring other teachers. “It would be up to the local trustees to make that decision,” VanOrden said. The bonuses would range from a minimum of $850 to a maximum of 25 percent of the teacher’s base pay, and would be just one-year, one-time awards. School districts would receive the money on a formula based on $850 for each full-time teacher in the district.
“We are attempting very much here to get those task force recommendations moving forward,” Clow said. “We’re trying to take this a piece at a time.” The bill now moves to the Senate side.