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Idaho Lawmaker Says Teacher Incentive Bonus Plan Will Be 'Bitter Pill'

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

But Republican Representative Ryan Kerby of 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.”

Kerby said those premiums could end up creating a division between teachers who get them and teachers who don’t.

“This is going to be a very bitter pill if this goes through, as far as the effect on the schools,” he said. “Because we would like to see those folks work together and like to see those folks get along and appreciate each other and enjoy going to work and seeing each other. And this is going to be exactly in the opposite direction.”

Idaho lawmakers are trying to come up with a new pay structure that will make Idaho more competitive with surrounding states and help schools retain quality teachers.

Teachers have opposed emphasizing student test scores and performance evaluations in determining salaries and bonuses.

The new version of the plan would give teachers a seat at the table when districts decide what criteria to use.