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Eye On Boise

Nonini: ‘It’s a golden parachute’

House Education Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, urges support for his legislation to retroactively end an early teacher retirement incentive program. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
House Education Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, urges support for his legislation to retroactively end an early teacher retirement incentive program. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

The House Education Committee has voted 11-6 in favor of HB 339, the new bill from Education Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, that directly contradicts the action JFAC took this morning on  school funding, and also makes other school funding changes. "We're just trying to cover all the bases at the end of the session," Nonini said after the meeting. "If this legislation makes it through the process and becomes law, there's $4 million that doesn't have to be funded." That's because HB 339 retroactively eliminates an early retirement program for teachers. However, this morning, JFAC restored funding for that program, based on legislation that's already passed both houses. Nonini derided the program as a "golden parachute" for retiring teachers. "This is a going-home bill to where we can get these education issues resolved, we can spread the pain throughout the system," he told the committee. The early retirement incentive program, he said, is "going into a teacher's pocket - it's a golden parachute to leave the profession. ... I have a hard time paying those people. ... Maybe they should just gracefully retire and go to the golf course."

Rep. Branden Durst, D-Boise, responded, "I think if anybody deserves a parachute, it's the people that teach our kids." He added, "If we pass this legislation, the Senate will not accept it as it is. ... Think about what you're doing." The early retirement incentive program, which gives teachers who retire early an average $18,000 lump sum, was promoted as a savings for school districts who can replace the retirees with less-experienced, lower-salaried teachers.



Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.