The Senate has spent lots of time in session today, and is still going now, at a quarter to 6 p.m. Boise time. Among the bills it’s passed this afternoon: HB 504, the measure to give $15.8 million in leadership bonuses to Idaho teachers next year. The bill, which previously passed the House on a 62-6 vote, passed the Senate unanimously, and now goes to Gov. Butch Otter. The only opposition in either house came from six House Republicans, Reps. Barbieri, Barrett, Dayley, Harris, McMillan and Sims.
The bonuses are a small piece of the recommendation from Otter’s education improvement task force to sharply increase teacher pay in the state, mostly by developing a new career ladder and tiered licensure system. That’s still in the works and won’t happen this year, but the bonuses piece was simpler. In addition to HB 504 passing both houses unanimously, the funding for the bonuses was included in the public school budget set earlier this week by the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee.