Bills unfairly tilt the scales

The resurrection of Proposition 1 — after voters soundly defeated it with 371,228 votes on Nov. 6 — flies “in the face” of Idaho voters!

It’s important to understand that many components of seven recent bills bringing back portions of the Luna laws will unfairly tilt the scales.

School boards come and go. Superintendents come and go. Education trends come and go. But professional educators plant themselves and their families in a district and serve the public for decades. Legislators need to consider this as these bills work through legislative channels.

The public needs to consider that the Idaho School Boards Association, sponsor of resurrected Proposition 1, is using your tax dollars to pay for their lobbying efforts. The ISBA is bringing back Proposition 1 after voters just said “No!” emphatically!

Contact your school board members and lawmakers on the House and Senate education committees and express your view.

The ISBA’s “Seven Deadly Sins”

House Bill 67 allows for public negotiations, holding accountable both teacher’s associations and school districts, which I say is great. But don’t declare the school board the winner at an arbitrary June 10 deadline. That allows districts to feign “good faith” with little to no negotiating whatsoever, wait out a “last best offer,” and “impose” a contract.

House Bill 68 involves tight deadlines for teachers to sign contracts, emailing them, instead of mailing.

House Bill 69 attempts to make it easier to fire an experienced teacher in order to make payroll. The bill is an attempt at legalizing “age discrimination” when there is a Reduction in Force (RIF).

Senate Bill 1037 proposes limiting Master Contracts to one year only. This is asking an organization to entirely scrap its bylaws structure and then re-build it every single year. It erases institutional memory. Districts can currently renegotiate ANY part of the Master Contract year to year. NOTHING in a Master Contract is locked in!

Senate Bill 1038 limits courts from hearing new evidence should a grievance or non-renewal hearing be challenged in district court. This heavy-handed measure attempts to circumvent due process rights for fair legal proceedings.

Senate Bill 1039 requires that the local association, and the district, prove that it represents 50 percent plus 1 of the certified employees before they can negotiate. Both groups must also show proof the contract has been ratified. I say, “Excellent!” The IEA has proven themselves to be the best and only teacher’s association in Idaho that can effectively represent.

Senate Bill 1040 allows school board trustees to reduce teacher salaries and contract length from year to year. This eliminates continuing contracts making all teachers at will employees. It would also put an employee on unpaid leave for a criminal hearing: Guilty until proven innocent.

Idaho, we can do better!

The Idaho legislature needs to follow its constitutional mandate to “establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.” It’s not the school district’s or the school board’s responsibility to make sure districts have all necessary operational funds.


Travis Manning

Travis Manning is Executive Director of the Common Sense Democracy Foundation of Idaho. He is a high school English teacher, parent of three children and Scoutmaster.

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