ID teachers, governor, elected leaders from both parties collaborate on teacher pay law


by Félix Pérez, image courtesy of the Idaho Education Association

Gov. Butch Otter, flanked by educators, the state superintendent, members of the state board of education and elected state leaders from both parties, called the bipartisan collaboration that led to a new five-year framework for teacher compensation and career advancement “historic.” Otter, noting the “long and arduous journey” to bring the legislation to reality, signed the bill last week in a standing-room only ceremony.

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“This is a historic day, as it should be,” Otter said. “There was a lot of heavy work and heavy lifting done by a lot of different folks.”

Among other things, the career ladder is designed to give all teachers a raise every year. Upon full implementation in 2019-20, if the legislature provides full funding, the career ladder would increase pay for teachers in their first three years in the profession from $37,000 to $39,000; teachers with more than three years experience would see their salaries rise from $42,500 to $50,000. The minimum teacher salary, set by law this school year at $31,750, would jump to $37,000 by 2019-20.

“This is a historic day, as it should be,” Otter said. “There was a lot of heavy work and heavy lifting done by a lot of different folks.”

idaho penni cyr
Teacher and IEA President Penni Cyr speaks at signing ceremony

Among those at the signing ceremony was Penni Cyr, Moscow teacher and president of the Idaho Education Association. “We are hopeful that this bill will represent a reinvestment in public education in Idaho and a reawakening on the part of policy-makers regarding the value of our teachers’ expertise and experience.”

Cyr added, “They (elected officials) listened to teachers. They took to heart the things that teachers were telling them that were coming directly from the classroom.”

Teachers, according to Cyr, were active participants in the process that led to the bill’s final language. IEA members packed public hearings in the fall to express their displeasure with aspects of the original state board proposal. And when the House Education Committee held a hearing on the proposed legislation, teachers again turned out to share their stories and experiences, as well as their frustration with parts of the bill.

As a result of teacher feedback, changes were made to the bill to minimize the impact of factors beyond the control of the classroom teacher, while still providing a potential pathway to increased compensation for teachers and stability for local districts. The first two versions were shelved and revised in an effort to build support.

Also present at the bill signing were State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sheri Ybarra, Reed DeMordaunt, Republican chair of the House Education Committee, and Ilana Rubel, Democrat and member of the House Education Committee. Rubel called the bill “monumental,” crediting stakeholders for “working round the clock, listening to everybody’s input, making thoughtful changes.” She added, “It says a lot to have everyone at the end of the day come in and enthusiastically support the bill.”

Reader Comments

  1. Are you sick of highly-paid teachers?

    That’s right. Let’s give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and planning — that equals 6-1/2 hours).

    So each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day…maybe 30? So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585 a day.

    However, remember they only work 187 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.

    LET’S SEE….

    That’s $585 X 187= $109,395 per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).

    What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6-1/2 hours X 30 children X 187 days = $291,720 per year.

    Wait a minute — there’s something wrong here! There sure is!

    The average teacher’s salary (nationwide) is $50,000.

    $50,000/187 days = $267.38 per day / 30 students = $8.91 / 6.5 hours = $1.23 per hour per student — a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!)

    WHAT A DEAL!!!!

    You are enslaving teachers to pay that is truly disgusting. Teachers use much of their own money to pay for school supplies because schools are under funded. You will be driving many good teachers away from that profession

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