BOISE — The Senate Education Committee agreed Monday to introduce three revised bills aimed at giving Idaho school boards authority to reduce teacher salaries and more bargaining leverage during contract talks with the teachers union.
The three measures mirror versions introduced in the same committee last month. They were submitted again Monday to reflect changes brought about by six hours of negotiations between school board officials, the teachers union, lawmakers and other education stakeholders.
The bills, being pushed by the Idaho School Boards Association, would change the nature of negotiations that occur each year on so-called master contracts — the broad agreements that cover salaries and benefits, as well as issues such as length of school year and teacher duties outside the classroom.
Karen Echeverria, ISBA executive director, said the version introduced Monday would allow for two-year extensions on master agreements dealing with non-salary issues. Salaries and benefits, she said, would be negotiated annually. Not everything in the revised bills has the support of the Idaho Education Association.
"We knew there were going to be issues we simply were not going to be able to agree upon," Echeverria said of the talks. "I had really hoped we had more of a consensus."
The other two bills introduced Monday would give school boards authority to make across-the-board cuts in teacher salaries and keep school boards from placing teachers on no more than 60 days of unpaid leave if they are under internal investigation by their school district.