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House Approves Two Major Education Reforms for Idaho

Written By onci on Wednesday, March 9, 2011 | 5:15 PM

Last week, the Idaho House approved Senate Bills 1108 and 1110. The legislation are two pieces of the Students Come First education reform package introduced by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter.

Senate Bill 1108 will restore authority to locally elected school boards, and Senate Bill 1110 will implement pay-for-performance across the state of Idaho above the teacher’s base salary.

“This is a great step forward,” Superintendent Luna said. “Senate Bill will save more than $9 million for our public schools and also implement major education reforms that we have talked about for years. With Senate Bill 1110, Idaho now has the most comprehensive statewide pay-for-performance plan in the country. This legislation is all about recognizing and rewarding our great teachers for the outstanding work they do every day.”

Superintendent Luna added, “We can’t stop here. We must also reform our classrooms to ensure every student has access to a highly effective teacher every year and the best educational opportunities available.”

Three bills make up the Students Come First reform package. Senate Bills 1108 and 1110 are now headed to the Governor’s desk. Superintendent Luna is still working closely with the Senate and Governor Otter on changes to the third bill, which addresses classroom reforms by stabilizing the public schools budget, investing in teacher base salaries, and infusing more technology in the classroom.

Senate Bill 1108 returns authority and flexibility to the locally elected school boards by phasing out tenure, limiting collective bargaining agreements to one year, tying teacher and administrator evaluations to student achievement, and giving Idaho parents input on teacher performance evaluations.

Through Senate Bill 1110, teachers will have the opportunity to earn up to $8,000 a year in bonuses in addition to their base salary. The plan was crafted by Superintendent Luna and all educational stakeholders, including the Idaho Education Association, Idaho School Boards Association, Idaho Association of School Administrators, Idaho Superintendents’ Association, Idaho Business Coalition for Education Excellence, Idaho State Board of Education and the Governor’s Office.

The pay-for-performance plan awards teachers for working in hard-to-fill positions, taking on leadership duties, or working in a school that shows academic growth year over year. The local school district will determine the hard-to-fill positions, leadership positions, and local student achievement goals that are eligible for awards each year. The state will award additional bonuses for student achievement on a schoolwide basis so if a school meets academic targets for growth or overall achievement in a year, all certified staff in the building will receive a bonus.

The plan will go into effect in the 2012-2013 school year. Learn more about the details of the pay-for-performance plan and other parts of the Students Come First reform package.

~ Melissa M.
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