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Eye On Boise

Nonini puts his teacher pay-cut bill on hold

House Education Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, pulled his salary-based apportionment bill, HB 656, from his committee agenda this morning, citing "some moving targets." Nonini said later that the bill, which differs substantially from a measure that unanimously passed the Senate, is the topic of session-ending discussions between House and Senate leaders. "I'm willing to talk and listen," Nonini said. "My bill, 656, is a little bit different from (SB) 1331. I'm willing to see if we can find some common ground."

SB 1331, which is co-sponsored by 16 senators, would end all future cuts in teacher salary funds required under the "Students Come First" reform laws to pay for technology boosts or merit pay. The state still would have to fund the reforms, but it wouldn't be required to cut teacher and administrator pay to come up with the money. Nonini hasn't scheduled a hearing on the Senate bill, instead proposing HB 656, which just cancels the salary-fund cuts scheduled for next year, leaving future years' cuts in place. The budget set for public schools for next year already offsets next year's cuts by "backfilling" other state funds into the school budget. The first cuts in state funds for teacher and administrator pay under "Students Come First" took effect this year.

Nonini said, "We've got to have something that will pass both bodies. I think it could be part of a going-home group of one or two bills."

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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