Idaho teachers robbed again.
The Legislature has, finally, appropriated bonus money to be awarded to teachers who have achieved a certain level of education and experience, as well as for Career Technical Education teachers who hold an “Occupational Specialist” certificate. They are trying to retain experienced teachers.
The State Department of Education sent this bonus money to the school districts intending that it be paid to the appropriate teachers. Some school districts have decided to keep that money instead.
The money is not flowing into teacher paychecks as the Legislature intended. Several districts have refused to contribute those bonuses to the Canyon Owyhee School Service Agency (a consortium of five rural school districts), for example.
These are some of the lowest paid teachers in the state with some of the most challenging students sent from those member districts. Teachers have endured severe pay cuts during the 2008 financial crisis that have not yet been restored. Teachers have tightened their belts and weathered the storm.
Now, certain school districts are robbing us, by withholding money that the Legislature intended the teachers to get. We teachers deserve better, and ask for a public outcry regarding what might be argued as a misappropriation of state funds.
Kelly Hudgens, Boise