July 11, 2013 in Idaho

Nampa district loses 20 percent of its teachers

Associated Press

NAMPA, Idaho – A financially troubled school district in southwestern Idaho has lost 20 percent of its teachers in the past few months.

Nampa School District Superintendent Pete Koehler said during a board meeting Tuesday that 151 teachers have left since the end of the school year.

The district has suffered a series of financial blows since last year, when officials discovered about $1 million in overspending and that almost $3 million in one-time budget money had been counted twice. In May, a financial analyst discovered that $1.2 million went to general operations rather than repayment of bonds. The end result is a $5.1 million deficit that has officials looking at cutting costs by forcing teachers to take 14 unpaid furlough days and imposing cuts to long- and short-term disability, life insurance and supplemental contracts.

The Nampa Education Association will re-enter contract negotiations with the district later this month. The teachers’ union and the district reached an impasse earlier this year. The Idaho Attorney General’s office has said that gives the district the right to impose its “last, best offer” when school resumes this fall.

Kristen Fields, a teacher who has worked for the district for five years, is expecting a baby in September. She fears she might lose her short-term disability benefits or the time she would normally use as paid maternity leave, depending on how contract negotiations end up.

NEA President Mandy Simpson said the board and district administrators must collaborate and communicate with education stakeholders in Nampa or teachers will continue to leave. Negotiations resume July 18.

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