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Idaho Panel Introduces Long-Awaited Teacher Pay Plan

Jessica Robinson
Northwest News Network
Students take a quiz in Eric Miller's eighth grade algebra class at Lakes Magnet Middle School in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

A plan to give Idaho teachers significant raises over five years has finally taken shape in the Idaho legislature.

This was one of the main education measures the legislature was expected to take up this year. Many school districts say they struggle to offer the kind of salaries that would help them recruit and keep quality teachers.

The “career ladder” bill introduced in the House Education Committee would eventually boost starting salaries for new teachers by about $6,000 -- to $37,000 per year. Top teachers with a master’s degree could make $57,500 a year if they qualify for a $4,000 annual performance bonus.

That would be $10,000 above than the current maximum salary.

That bonus would be based on how well a teacher’s students do on tests and other measurements of learning.

The head of the Idaho teachers’ union called the proposal disappointing. A union spokesperson said the career ladder should better reward a teacher’s years in the classroom and the quality of their teaching.

Starting salaries would fall short of the $40,000 a year many education advocates envisioned. The union statement said the proposed salaries still wouldn’t make Idaho competitive with neighboring states.

The governor’s office is pushing the proposal, which has a price tag of $125 million over five years.