Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, arguing for her motion to give teachers a 1.5 percent base pay increase next year instead of 1 percent, noted that teachers have lost thousands in pay due to budget cuts during the economic downturn, and not all teachers will benefit from leadership bonuses. “All the teachers have felt the bite of those changes – every single one of them,” she said. “There’s not a huge difference in numbers between my motion and the main motion, but I think it speaks volumes in values.”
Ringo’s motion drew just four “yes” votes, from her, Rep. Phylis King, D-Boise, and Sens. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow; and Dan Johnson, R-Lewiston. The original motion, for the 1 percent increase, then passed on a 15-5 vote, but the opponents were different: They included Ringo and King along with Sens. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood; Cliff Bayer, R-Boise; and Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens. Vick had asked several questions about money included in the budget for teacher professional development and how that relates to new Idaho core standards. That vote was for the teachers division, one of seven divisions within the public school budget.
“There’s a lot about this budget that I support, including raising minimum salaries and professional development,” Vick said. “In fact, I support most of what’s in here. What I don’t support is that we don’t really seem to have an answer on how much of an impact the new core standards will have to individual school districts and how much that’s going to cost. … I have some concerns about the standards and I don’t know where else I have a chance to voice my objections to implementing the standards, so that’s why I’m doing that here.”
The successful teachers division budget also includes an increase in the minimum teacher salary to $31,750, bringing it back up to the 2009 level.