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Senate Education Committee drops bill that speeds firings

Fri., March 14, 2008

BOISE – The Senate Education Committee has scrapped this year’s efforts to speed the firing of inadequate teachers after opposition from the Idaho School Boards Association derailed the plan.

Thursday’s decision to pull the bill puts an end to the final remnant of public schools chief Tom Luna’s now-failed Idaho State Teacher Advancement and Recognition System merit-pay plan. He had called for teachers to give up some job security to be eligible for performance pay.

Idaho teachers who face firing can demand a hearing before their local school board, then a court appeal. Appeals can drag on for years, and school board members last year told lawmakers the process is too unwieldy.

The proposal abandoned by Senate Education Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, would have allowed the option of hiring independent arbitrators to make a final binding ruling.

Karen Echeverria, the association’s executive director, said her group felt that would be an inappropriate delegation of authority. The association also feared arbitration would leave schools vulnerable to lawsuits.

A frustrated Goedde said that the next time a school board member complains about the difficulty of firing a bad teacher, “I’ll remind them of this bill.”


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