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Capitol Notes from the ISBA, Jan. 28

Higher Education Week

This week was higher education week at the Legislature, which means that all the higher education institutions, including community colleges, made presentations to the House and Senate Education Committees as well as the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee (JFAC). As such, there was not much K-12 work that occurred in committees.

Luna presents his budget to the Joint-Finance Appropriations Committee

In addition to the higher education presentations to JFAC, Superintendent Luna also presented his new FY2014 budget in light of the Students Come First repeal. His budget proposal is slightly higher than the governor’s proposal and contains an overall 3 percent increase. He did request bringing back some line items like technology and funding for facilities and maintenance. He also requested a 1.5 percent increase to discretionary funding.

Our only major concern with Superintendent Luna’s budget proposal at this point is his funding of IDLA. While he increased it 11.5% over last year’s funding, that funding was a significant decrease from the year before. When the laws reverted back so did the funding for IDLA. Based on Superintendent Luna’s proposal, we are assuming that he plans to bring legislation forward that will change the way IDLA is funded. I have asked for some statistical data from IDLA that we will pass on to all of you. We hope to be able to use this to combat the reduction in funding. So, stay tuned for more info on this.

ISBA collective bargaining and teacher contract legislation

The seven collective bargaining and teacher contract bills that I referenced last week will be printed in the Senate and House Education Committees on Monday and Tuesday of this week. The Idaho Association of School Administrators (IASA) has agreed to sign on to three of the seven bills. IASA has agreed to support the One Year Agreement/Removal of Evergreen, Open Negotiations and Final Offer, and Teacher’s Salaries and Unpaid Administrative Leave.

Also last week, the funding bill that will replace funds in FY13 that were lost with the repeal of the Students Come First bills was printed last Friday. As I explained to you last week, the dance has started and the chess game has begun.

If the collective bargaining and teacher contract bills are printed – and we believe they will be — it is my understanding that Sen. Goedde will convene a meeting of the ISBA, IASA, and the IEA to discuss the bills. It will be at that time that we see if we can find consensus on any of the issues.

Other ISBA legislation

Resolution # 1 – Funding
This resolution contains many elements – all related to funding of public education in some way. Below is a breakdown of the pieces we are currently working on:

Students Come First Repeal and $30.1 million
As discussed above, Superintendent Luna is recommending that these dollars be returned to school districts as line items and the legislation was printed on Friday that will do just that. We will continue to support this legislation.

Bringing Back Use it or Lose it on a Permanent Basis
It is our understanding that the IASA will be bringing this legislation forward. The SDE assisted with writing the bill and it has been forwarded to leadership. We will stay in close contact with IASA and assist them in any way we can. We will continue to support this legislation.

Lottery Funds and Building Maintenance
One of the elements found in our Resolution #1 was to move the Lottery Funds back into building maintenance rather than allowing it to be used as discretionary funds. While the governor’s proposed budget did make that change, Superintendent Luna’s budget proposal contained one-half of the replacement dollars. He indicated that if approved, he will ask for full replacement next year. We will support the Superintendent’s budget on this issue.

Business Personal Property Tax
This legislation continues to be a topic of discussion in the legislature. We met again with the Governor and other stakeholders on Thursday and there is another meeting scheduled for this week. The Tax Commission brought back some information and has been tasked with bringing back some further clarification. We encourage you to be talking with your legislators on the financial impact to your local district if this tax is repealed with no replacement dollars.

Non-Certificated Personnel Grievance
We have this legislation drafted and are working with the Kellogg School District who brought this legislation forward. The Kellogg School District has some concerns with the language we drafted and we are working with them to see if we can find language that will work for them and that we will still be able to get passed. We hope to hammer out the final language on that bill this week.

Increasing Supplemental Levies to Three (3) Years
This legislation would allow school districts to run a supplemental levy for 1, 2, or 3 years. Currently, the maximum length of time for a supplemental levy is two years. We have had this resolution before and have been unable to find a sponsor for the legislation. The Boundary County School District is currently working to find a sponsor.

Building Requirements for Non-Student Occupied Buildings
As I reported to you last week, we sent the legislation to the Division of Building Safety and the Public Works Contractors Licensing for their review before we asked for a print hearing. They have indicated they will most likely object to the legislation as will the Associated General Contractors. Despite the opposition, the sponsoring school district has secured a sponsor for the bill.

While we oftentimes run legislation that others object to, it becomes more difficult to pass when a state agency or board is objecting the bill. As such, we have asked the sponsoring school district if they wish to continue. If so, we will work with the sponsor to see if we can get the Committee Chair to give it print hearing.

If you want to view the actual language of any piece of legislation, click here. You can search by topic or the actual bill number.

Karen Echeverria

Karen Echeverria

Karen Echeverria retired as the executive director of the Idaho School Boards Association.

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