Lawmakers launch another round of education bills

Credit: KTVB

Members of the Idaho Senate take part in a public hearing on education reform, Monday February 11, 2013.

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by KTVB.COM

KTVB.COM

Posted on February 12, 2013 at 7:30 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 3:54 AM

BOISE -- Three bills governing teacher contracts and negotiations for teacher contracts are advancing in the Statehouse.

The Senate Education Committee introduced the new bills Monday.

The move came just before hundreds showed up at the Statehouse for public testimony on Idaho's education reform.

NEW LEGISLATION

The new bills are largely aimed at giving Idaho school boards authority to reduce teacher salaries and more bargaining leverage during contract talks with teachers unions.

The Idaho School Board Association says the newly adjusted legislation is similar to three bills introduced in the Senate Education Committee earlier this month. Those bills were attacked by the Idaho Education Association, who alleged they were too similar to the state's failed "Students Come First" reforms.

Link to Senate Bill 1037

Link to Senate Bill 1039

Link to Senate Bill 1040

Lawmakers have reportedly made a number of changes to the bills in the wake of this, and other public feedback.

According to The Associated Press, the new bills will cover the terms of the master contract agreements negotiated between teachers and school districts.

MASTER CONTRACT AGREEMENTS

Master contract agreements cover issues such as salaries and benefits -- as well as issues such as length of school year and teacher duties outside the classroom.

The bills would also allow for two-year extensions on master agreements dealing with non-salary issues. Issues of salary and benefits would be renegotiated annually.

Other portions of the bills would give school boards authority to make 'across-the-board' cuts in teacher salaries and keep school boards from placing teachers on no more than 60 days of unpaid leave if they are under internal investigation by their school district.

Not everything in the revised legislation has the support of the Idaho Education Association.

However, two separate bills sponsored by the teachers union were also printed yesterday. They too will now advance in committee for debate.

The House Education Committee is set to introduce additional education bills Tuesday.

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