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Eye On Boise archive for March 2011


How they voted... 

Here's how the 13-5 vote broke down in the House Education Committee on SB 1108, the teacher contracts bill, and SB 1110, the teacher merit pay bill (the vote split was identical on both): Voting in favor: Reps. Nonini, Shirley, Block, Nielsen, Chadderdon, Shepherd, Wills,…

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Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, center, presides over the House Education Committee on Thursday. The committee passed both SB 1108 and SB 1110, the teacher contract and teacher merit pay bills, on 13-5 votes; they now move to the full House for a final vote. (Betsy Russell)

Nonini: 'These are important bills' 

Here's a link to my full story at on the House Education Committee's passage today of two of state schools Supt. Tom Luna's school reform bills, SB 1108 on teacher contracts, and SB 1110 to set up a teacher performance pay plan. After the…

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Committee passes SB 1108 on 13-5 vote

The House Education Committee has voted 13-5 in favor of SB 1108, the bill to remove most existing collective bargaining rights from Idaho teachers; eliminate the teacher early retirement incentive program; and remove the 99 percent funding protection that school districts now have when enrollment…

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Substitute motion fails, 5-13

The substitute motion, to send SB 1108 to the House's amending order to remove the 99 percent provision, was voted down, 5-13. Three Democrats and two Republicans supported it: Reps. Trail, Nesset, Pence, Chew and Cronin.

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Two motions pending on SB 1108...

Rep. Linden Bateman has moved to send SB 1108 to the full House with a recommendation that it pass. Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise, then made a substitute motion to send the bill to the House's amending order. "1108 for the most part seeks to erode…

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Luna: 'We know what works' 

Answering questions from House Education Committee members as they prepare to vote on SB 1108 and SB 1110, state schools Supt. Tom Luna said, "Everyone recognizes that there are some teachers that are not effective in the classroom, and we need to be able to…

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Donnell: 'Allow for some flexibility' 

When representatives of the Idaho Business Coalition for Education Excellence, which is supporting SB 1108 and 1110, said the problem is that Idaho has the nation's lowest rate of kids going on to higher education, Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise, said, "These bills seem to suggest…

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Biz group: 'Debate is healthy' 

Vince Hannity, president of the Idaho Business Coalition for Education Excellence, told the House Education Committee, "IBCEE strongly supports education reform." Repeating his earlier testimony to the Senate committee, he called the "Students Come First" plan a "bold and innovative step toward the reform we…

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Trustees favor much of 1108, oppose 99 percent provision

Karen Echeverria, executive director of the Idaho School Boards Association, said according to the association's survey, "For the most part trustees across the state strongly support the major elements of this bill, SB 1108," including replacing tenure, or continuing contracts, with two-year rolling contracts; eliminating…

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Phil Homer of the Idaho Association of School Administrators tells the House Education Committee, 'It's time to slow down" on teacher pay-for-performance legislation, and start with pilot programs to see how they work - because there's no funding now for a statewide program. (Betsy Russell)

Administrators: 'It's time to slow down' 

Phil Homer of the Idaho Association of School Administrators told the House Education Committee, "We support and endorse many of the concepts. ... We support the tools and flexibility that are provided to the districts through SB 1108. We do, however, have a concern about…

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PTA: 'Negative impact to our children' 

Laurie Boeckel, legislative vice president for the Idaho PTA, told the House Education Committee her organization is concerned about how SB 1108's removal of the 99 percent funding floor and Oct. 1 date to notify teachers of dismissal could impact kids. "Does this mean a…

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Nonini: 'Supportive from the get-go' 

House Education Chairman Bob Nonini told Sherri Wood, president of the IEA, "Although my name doesn't appear on these bills as a sponsor, I have been very supportive since the superintendent and the governor have shared these bills. ... I am supportive of these bills,…

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Sherri Wood, president of the Idaho Education Association, urges the House Education Committee to kill SB 1108, which she called "nothing short of the most mean-spirited and egregious attacks on teachers that Idaho has ever seen." At left is state schools Supt. Tom Luna, who proposed the bill. (Betsy Russell)

Wood: 'A cruel joke on teachers'

Sherri Wood, president of the Idaho Education Association, was the first of the education stakeholders to speak today. "The bill before you today will seriously damage education in Idaho," she told the House Education Committee. "You must think about the true motive Supt. Luna had…

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House Education Committee members question Jason Hancock, aide to state schools Supt. Tom Luna, on Thursday morning about SB 1108 and SB 1110, the teacher contract bill and the teacher merit pay bill. (Betsy Russell)

Going through second bill... 

Jason Hancock, aide to state schools Supt. Tom Luna, has now begun explaining SB 1110, the teacher pay for performance bill. He said it's based on a Colorado model. Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow, said he's examined the Colorado model, and it was based on an…

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Reps question Hancock about SB 1108

Rep. Mack Shirley, R-Rexburg, asked Luna aide Jason Hancock about suggestions yesterday from an ag teacher from Parma, who called for several changes in a procedure outlined in the bill that Shirley said were certainly "reasonable." Hancock said he didn't hear that portion of yesterday's…

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Luna aide: 'Anyone can sue anyone' 

Rep. Linden Bateman, R-Idaho Falls, asked Luna aide Jason Hancock about a clause in SB 1108 that declares that employment under certain kinds of teacher contracts is "not a property right," and asked, "Can this be challenged in a court?" Hancock responded, "As far as…

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The House Education Committee opens its hearing on Thursday morning, back in its regular committee room after two days of public hearings in the Capitol Auditorium. Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, said his intention is that the committee will vote on both bills, SB 1108 and SB 1113, by the end of the meeting. (Betsy Russell)

House Ed opens hearing in smaller room

House Education Committee Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, has opened this morning's committee meeting back in the committee's usual meeting room in the House wing, rather than in the much larger Capitol Auditorium. In the past two days of meeting there, Nonini said, the committee…

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Additional cuts made in DEQ budget

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee has set a budget for the state Department of Environmental Quality that eliminates funding for the Pend Oreille Basin Lakes Commission, to save $75,000; cuts support for the Basin Advisory Groups and Watershed Advisory Groups by $75,000; eliminates the wastewater operator…

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Plan for Medicaid cuts unveiled 

The House Health and Welfare Committee has agreed to consider a bill that would whack $39 million from the state Medicaid budget, set new eligibility rules for clients and impose changes in the way health and treatment services are provided, the Associated Press reports. The…

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A shock wave through Idaho's election system... 

Here's a link to my full story at on today's court decision declaring Idaho's open primary election system unconstitutional, ruling that it violates the right of the state's Republican Party to ban anyone who's not a party member from voting in its primaries. The…

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Eye On Boise

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

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