Education news roundup: Monday, Feb. 24

Leadership premiums. A $15.8 million plan to award teacher leadership premiums is headed to the Senate floor.

The Senate Education Committee gave House Bill 504 a unanimous endorsement.

The bill would allow teachers to earn one-year premiums of $850 to $5,780 for taking on various leadership roles — such as mentoring, teaching multiple subjects or taking hard-to-fill positions. Districts will have latitude to establish criteria.

“I imagine we’ll have quite a varirety of leadership definitions out there,” said one of the bill’s co-sponsors, Rep. Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls.

Clow, R-Twin Falls, estimated that about a third of the state’s teachers would qualify for the premiums.

The premiums are seen as a first step toward establishing a teacher career salary ladder, a multiyear undertaking with a price tag of roughly $250 million.

ISBA day on the hill. Hundreds of new faces will crowd the Statehouse halls Monday and Tuesday as trustees from around Idaho come to Day on the Hill activities.

This is the annual two-day education session hosted by the Idaho School Boards Association.

Close to 200 trustees, many accompanied by their superintendents, will attend workshops and education committee meetings and spend time networking.

They all will watch the Senate Education Committee meeting on Monday at 3 p.m. in the Lincoln Auditorium and the House Education Committee meeting on Tuesday at 9 a.m. in the Lincoln Auditorium.

They also get the opportunity to meet with legislators to discuss local and state education issues and how they may impact their communities.

Dual credit. The House Education Committee passed a bill intended to clarify the legal definition of dual credit courses.

Marilyn Whitney, the Idaho State Board of Education’s chief legislative and communications officer, pushed Senate Bill 1229.

The bill deletes references to specific grade levels to avoid confusion over who is eligible to participate in dual credit courses. The language will apply broadly to secondary students in general if the bill is passed into law.

“We felt it was important we have a clear definition,” Whitney said.

The bill next moves to the House floor, it has already passed the Senate 34-0.

Charter school appeals. House Education also passed a bill dealing with the Public Charter School Commission.

Senate Bill 1264 is intended to avoid potential conflicts of interest in appeals, Whitney said.

The State Board’s executive director or a designee would enforce the provisions of charter school laws and serve as the secretary of the Idaho Public Charter School Commission.

Under existing law, the executive director carries out those duties, but Whitney sought to add the “his or her designee” language in the event of a hearing involving a charter school authorized by the commission.

That bill next moves to the House floor. It also previously passed the Senate 34-0.