Idaho school boards agree to time limits on education reform proposals

The Idaho School Board Association has agreed to give four of its most hotly contested education reform proposals a limited political shelf life in an attempt to win support from the teacher’s union.

Revised versions of two bills unveiled in the Senate Monday, and two others introduced in the House on Tuesday, include one-year sunset clauses and commitments to work with the Idaho Education Association after the expiration date on modifications.

The Senate Education Committee on Monday introduced a bill giving school boards power to reduce teacher salaries and another covering master teacher contracts – each with one-year expiration dates attached.

The House Education committee took up a proposal giving school districts power to lay off teachers. A fourth revised bill would give school boards authority to impose a “last best offer” if contract negotiations with teachers fail.

ISBA officials say the one-year trial run on all four proposals also gives Board Association members and the IEA a fixed timeframe to evaluate the effectiveness of the changes and work together to propose long-term fixes in 2014.

The union has hinted it might support legislation if it included the sunset provisions, but it’s not clear how the IEA will respond to the latest versions.

The sunset provisions mean all four bills would be automatically voided next year unless lawmakers opt to reauthorize them.  (AP)

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