Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Teachers Say Pay Plan Won’t Make Idaho More Attractive To Educators

Jessica Robinson
Northwest News Network
Teachers and administrators testified before the Idaho House Education Committee on Tuesday.

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.

But teachers at the Capitol told a panel of lawmakers Tuesday a proposal called the “career ladder” isn’t very enticing.

Idaho teachers object to the plan’s “accountability” measures. About $125 million in raises and bonuses would be determined in large part by performance evaluations and student test scores. Pocatello high school teacher Tom Van Deren said it doesn’t read like a bill intended to reward teachers.

“As teachers we were promised we would be taken care of once the state recovered from the recent recession,” he said. “So I ask where’s the state’s accountability to its educators.”

Liz Clark, a special ed teacher in Lewiston, questioned the plan’s five-year phase-in. Clark said a friend doing her job across the border in Washington makes $10,000 a year more.

“After five years I still won’t advance to the pay rate she is making,” Clark said. She plans to leave her Idaho job next year for one in Washington.

But lawmakers also heard from school administrators who said the plan may not be perfect, but it would help improve their chances of filling job openings.