IEA: State is ‘nowhere near the finish line’ for veteran teachers

The first round of bonuses for veteran teachers are a positive step, but Idaho needs to do more for veteran educators, the president of the state’s teachers’ union said Thursday.

Specifically, the state needs to commit to providing up to $60,000 for teacher salaries, Idaho Education Association President Kari Overall said.

“We are nowhere near the finish line in our efforts to address a teacher attrition problem that sees Idaho educators leaving the state or the profession at a rate significantly higher than the national average,” Overall said in a statement to Idaho Education News.

Overall hailed the launch of the state’s master educator premium. This week, 1,226 teachers received word that they will receive the premiums, under a program designed to reward Idaho’s high-performing veteran teachers. Some teachers have criticized the premiums — and a cumbersome application that took from 80 to 120 hours to complete.

The premiums could be worth $12,000 over three years.

But on Thursday, Overall pushed for the $60,000 maximum salary, first proposed by then-Gov. Butch Otter’s education task force six years ago. Gov. Brad Little’s K-12 task force has all but followed suit, although it will make its final decision in November.

“It is imperative the Idaho Legislature follow through on an educator compensation plan that has now been recommended by two separate task forces made up of educators, business and community leaders, and elected officials,” said Overall, a member of Little’s task force.

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More reading: State superintendent Sherri Ybarra’s silence on master educator premiums.

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