Outlining the career ladder teacher pay model

The amount the state spends on minimum teacher salaries would increase by 26 percent if the Legislature fully implements a new teacher career ladder.

Sept 29 Career Ladder
Committee members debate a teacher pay proposal Monday in Meridian.

On Monday, a State Board of Education subcommittee recommended the Legislature put $175 million in new funding into a career ladder,  which would be tied to tiered licensure.

In doing so, the state would abolish its salary grid, which pays teachers based on their education and years of service. Lawmakers would also incrementally increase the amount the state pays in salaries, beginning in 2015-16.

The plan would bring teacher salaries up to $40,000 to $58,000, after a five-year phase-in.

If the career ladder is implemented as proposed, the amount the state allocates for minimum teacher salaries would increase from $31,750 to $32,800 in 2015-16. That same year, the state would pay districts $36,398 to $47,803 for teachers who have been in the profession for more than three years.

Moving forward, the state would pay districts as follows:


  • Teachers holding an initial resident certificate: $34,600.
  • Teachers holding a professional certificate (teachers in the profession more than three years): $39,049 to $48,602.


  • Resident certificate: $36,400 to $38,211.
  • Professional certificate: $41,699 to $49,402.


  • Resident certificate: $38,200 to $40,106.
  • Professional certificate: $44,350 to $50,201.
  • Teachers who obtain the new master professional certificate: $52,800.


  • Resident certificate: $40,000 to $42,000.
  • Professional certificate: $47,000 to $51,000.
  • Master certificate: $54,000 to $58,000.

Under that plan and implementation schedule, minimum teacher salaries would increase 26 percent by 2019-20. Unless the Legislature makes additional changes to Idaho law, teacher salaries would still be negotiated and set each year at the district level. The dollar amounts represent salary payments the state would send districts for pay.

Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking, D-Boise.

Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking, a Boise Democrat and former teacher who sits on the Senate Education Committee, praised the committee for working to increase teacher pay.

“The idea of putting additional money into salary reimbursement is very appealing to me,” she said Monday.

But Ward-Engelking said she has received “50 messages” from educators who are concerned about the tiered licensure certification system that would be tied to the career ladder. As a result, Ward-Engelking abstained from Monday’s vote on the career ladder.

“I am very fearful of adopting the tiered licensure system,” Ward-Engelking said. “I think we will lose quality teachers to other states.”

The $175 million proposal does not account for increases in benefits or growth – decisions the committee deliberately left to the Legislature. While committee members passed a resolution calling on lawmakers to pass tiered licensure and the career ladder at the same time, they realize implementation will be out of their hands.

“We’re not second-guessing whatever the Legislature might do,” West Ada School District Superintendent Linda Clark said. “Our task was to put the details on the plan suggested by the original task force and give the Legislature something concrete to work with.”


Clark Corbin

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