Statehouse roundup, 1.16.19: Senate overrides House on teacher salary rule

Senators have adopted language designed to help out-of-state teachers move into a spot on Idaho’s salary career ladder.

The unanimous Senate Education Committee vote came Wednesday afternoon, hours after members of the House Education Committee rejected the same proposal.

But under Idaho’s complicated rulemaking process, the Senate vote effectively overrides the House vote, meaning the rule is poised to go into effect. (Click here to read the rule, which begins on page 56.)

Here’s the rundown on Wednesday’s action:

The issue, in a nutshell. The 2015 career ladder law allows teachers to move from rung to rung and receive pay raises along the way.

The process is unclear for teachers who are new to Idaho. School officials asked the state to write up language that they could follow, Tracie Bent of the State Board of Education told senators Wednesday afternoon.

The wording allows schools to look at student achievement and student success data from out of state, and use it to help place the new teacher on the career ladder.

Education stakeholder groups agreed on the language, Bent said, and the State Board received no negative comments during a public comment period.

What happened in the House? A House Education subcommittee recommended rejecting the rule.

Rep. Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley, said she had “some problems” with the wording. Rep. Bill Goesling, R-Moscow, became frustrated that it did not make provisions for veterans who have taught in an armed forces setting, such as a flight instructor.

“I see this as very cumbersome and a lot more paperwork, and I just see it holding up a lot of teachers,” said Moon, herself an educator.

Bent said that killing the rule, could prevent out-of-state teachers from earning more money under the career ladder in their first year in Idaho.

The subcommittee voted down the rule on a split voice vote.

What happened in the Senate? Pretty much the opposite. After brief discussion, and a few questions, Senate Education voted to adopt the rule.

What does it all mean? The proposal is known as a “pending rule.” A pending rule passes, and carry the weight of law, with a favorable vote from a House or Senate committee.

If nothing changes, the Senate committee vote is enough to pass the rule.

Idaho Education News reporter Clark Corbin contributed to this report.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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