Teacher Pay

Dave Harbison / Idaho Education Association

Teachers around the state are ready with lesson plans as a new school year gets under way. But in one tiny school district in rural Idaho, salary negotiations are making this hectic time of year a little more stressful.


Idaho Ed News

Idaho’s average teacher salary has increased by slightly more than 5 percent since 2015, when the state adopted a five-year plan to boost pay.

Like many averages, this number tells only part of the story.

In 26 districts and charters across Idaho, average salaries increased by more than 10 percent. In 19 districts and charters, the average actually decreased — which happens when experienced teachers retire or resign, and entry-level teachers take their place.

AP Photo

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter says that he has no plans to introduce a tax cut proposal to the Idaho Legislature in 2017.

Speaking Wednesday at the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho annual conference in Boise, Otter said he plans to focus on education as his top priority during the upcoming legislative session. However, Otter added he's open to considering tax cut proposals that make it through the GOP-dominated Legislature.

AP Photo

As students head back to classrooms across the state this week and next, Governor Butch Otter continues to push his five-year education plan. 

Tim Lauer / Flickr Creative Commons

The Nampa school district will offer full-day, every-day kindergarten classes at some elementary schools in the fall.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reports that enrollment is open for full-time kindergarten at three Nampa-area schools.

District officials say full-day kindergarten classes will allow teachers to focus on developing social skills and participation as well as the academic lessons shorter schedules focus on.

Idaho Education News

When it comes to paying and keeping teachers, there are wide gaps between Idaho’s haves and have-nots.

Idaho’s new five-year plan to boost teacher pay will not solve this problem. In fact, it could even get worse.

The $125 million career ladder law is designed to narrow the teacher pay gap between Idaho and neighboring states. Within Idaho, teacher salaries are set locally, and results vary widely from district to district. (To see how your local district stacks up, use the searchable table at the bottom of this story.)

School districts across the state are grappling with changes stemming from a new state law raising the salary for teachers and the major districts west of Boise are no exception.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reports that Nampa Superintendent David Peterson says the starting wage increase of 4.5 percent will have a large effect on his district. A financial crisis in 2012 caused many veteran teachers to leave and brought an influx of first-time educators to the city.

Idaho Capitol Dome
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The nearly $125 million plan to boost teacher pay in Idaho over the next five years won the governor's stamp of approval.

Under the new law, which Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed Thursday, rookie teacher pay would steadily increase to $37,000 a year by 2020.

Over time, more experienced teachers will be able to qualify for higher pay of roughly $42,000 to $50,000 a year.

Otter says passing the plan that had support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and all major stakeholders defined the 2015 legislative session as historic.

capitol, JFAC
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Legislative budget writers are matching Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's request to restore public education money slashed during the economic downturn by adding roughly $101 million to the Idaho schools budget.

The Joint Finance Appropriations Committee approved increasing the schools budget by 7.4 percent on Friday. The proposal now needs to pass both chambers, but the legislation is expected to pass.

The proposal includes allotting $33.5 million to boost teacher pay, part of a five-year teacher pay increase plan lawmakers approved earlier this week.

Education, school, classroom
IlmicrofonoOgglono / Flickr Creative Commons

The average teacher pay in Idaho dropped by more than $200 from 2012-13 to 2013-14 — a decrease that the state’s teachers’ union can’t explain.

On average, only two states pay their teachers less than Idaho.

A March 10 hearing on a teacher career ladder bill drew dozens of teachers to the Statehouse to testify. A new version of the bill passed the House Monday.

But meanwhile, pay appeared to increase for Idaho “instructional staff,” including counselors, principals and curriculum specialists.

BES Photo / Flickr Creative Commons

An Idaho House committee Wednesday introduced a revised plan for increasing teacher pay.

But Rep. Ryan Kerby, R-New Plymouth, said the new version doesn’t fix a potentially divisive issue he said could backfire on the state.

Under the plan, experienced teachers who meet a high bar of performance criteria would be eligible for $4,000 bonuses called “master premiums.”

This story was updated at 5:30 p.m.

The latest revision of a bill to boost teacher pay in Idaho over the next five years showed promise of passing early Wednesday morning, but the legislation was killed just eight hours later.

The House Education Committee is now slated to vote on introducing a third amended version of the legislation Thursday.

The proposal presented Wednesday would have bumped beginning teacher pay from $31,750 to $32,700 a year. But Republican Rep. Ryan Kerby from New Plymouth balked at the way pay bonuses were structured.

The Idaho Legislature will likely extend past its targeted March 27 end-date now that a House panel has killed a long-awaited proposal to boost teacher pay.

The panel's decision on Wednesday came at the same time the state's budget committee announced it would delay setting the education budget. The joint committee's chairmen cited uncertainty over the teacher pay bill for pushing back their budget setting.

Idaho school districts say the state needs to offer better pay if it’s going to attract qualified teachers -- or keep the ones it has.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

One of the Idaho Legislature's most anticipated pieces of legislation has attracted hundreds of teachers, parents and educational state officials to the Capitol eager to testify and lobby for more money for public school teachers.

However, after listening to nearly three hours of testimony Tuesday morning, House lawmakers are still nowhere closer to sealing the fate of a bill that would pump $125 million into teacher salaries.

The Idaho House Education Committee is scheduled to continue listening to testimony at 2:30 p.m.

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