What does Idaho's new minimum law mean for teachers?

After 20 years working in trades, Gordon Knight made a career change last year. He took a job as a kindergarten teacher at the Idaho Arts Charter School in Nampa.

This change of life had serious financial implications. “I took a significant pay cut to teach,” he said.

But this spring, legislators approved a two-year Gov. Brad Little to reinforce initial teacher pay. Aimed at first year teachers like Knight, Idaho's minimum salary law for teachers will increase to $ 40,000 in 2020-21.

Knight is excited about the pay rise, and school administrators also support the new law. But they also say that there is only one step in attracting new teachers – and retaining good teachers in Idaho classrooms.

Who gets the money?

For Idaho 3,651 teachers, there is a guaranteed increase in the minimum wage law.

These educators do somewhere between $ 35,800 a year – the current minimum state – and $ 40,000. Together, they comprise more than a fifth of Idaho teachers' workforce.

According to a study of the National Educational Association 2016-17, 44 pay of the teacher began Idaho was landing in the nation. State law mandates the minimum teacher salary, which increased from the 2016-17 study. However, school districts and charts draw the rest of their pay schedules separately.

Therefore, the impact of the new minimum wage varies considerably:

  • In Nampa, the third largest area in Idaho, 376 teachers make less than $ 40,000 a year.
  • In Boise, the second largest area in the state, only 49 teachers less than $ 40,000 a year.
  • In relation to a few areas and charters, the new law is a concern, as each teacher already earns at least $ 40,000 a year. The list includes the Blaine County District School, which pays the highest average salary for any area in Idaho, and the Sage International chartered school in Southeast Boise.
  • In an area and charter, the impact could be serious. In these schools – including charts from Boise to Idaho Falls, and border areas in Malad and Payette – the minimum $ 40,000 pay rise could be delivered to half the faculty, or more.

Malad and Payette provide case studies on teacher recruitment and retention.

Siad They just laugh at us'

Teeters malad on the southeastern edge of Idaho, just 10 miles from the border of Utah. Its residents often cross the state line to shop, and this is because it contributes to job shopping. Malad loses teachers in neighboring schools in Utah.

Other teachers don't even start in Malad.

Malad goes above the minimum mandatory wage, kicking $ 1,000 above the state allocation. But when District Commander Oneida Rich Moore hits job fairs in Utah, few people take it.

“They're just laughing at us,” he said. “They don't even think about them.”

Oneida needs to be resourceful. The area receives candidates who have contact with the area, or who employ teachers through alternative certificates.

North of Malad, the school districts Bonneville and Pocatello-Chubbuck also feel that there is competition outside the state.

Bonneville successfully recruited last year, and Scott Woolstenhulme was relieved that the salaries were not a problem. High Ridge Thunder Ridge, a brand new Bonneville, attracted candidates from Wyoming, California and Nebraska.

“The high school attracted them to the area, and the area attracted them to the area,” said Woolstenhulme, former administrator of Bonneville, who will take over the position of superintendent this summer.

In Pocatello, human resources director Sue Pettit presents a quality of life – close to Yellowstone National Park and Jackson Hole, Wyo. But Utah districts offer more than $ 40,000 a year an initial salary available to teachers. Utah districts also spend signed bonuses and forgiveness of student loans, thinking that gone anywhere in Idaho Statehouse.

In Oneida County, family income, domestic values ​​and rents all fall below statewide intermediaries. But Moore says he is not hiring a local economic vacuum. He wants to compete among a shortage of state and national teachers.

“His $ 40,000 salary here in Oneida, in Malad, is being viewed as a big salary,” he said. “(But) we are not only competing with people looking for jobs in Malad.”

Competition and fault

Superintendent Robin Gilbert comes from one of her new hires in Payette: an excellent “first year” teacher who is just jumping into the profession. The teacher received her confirmation by other means, the American Board of Teacher Quality Assurance. She was unable to get an interview with Boise or Ada Ada areas, so she is doing the daily commuting to Payette, about an hour from Boise.

Increased minimum wages will help new teachers, but the Superintendent in the Payette School Area, Robin Gilbert, is concerned about losing the old soldiers of the classroom. “Those that are not well funded by the state.”

Gilbert is enthusiastic about his hiring, but pragmatic about the future. After a few years, Gilbert is hoping that he will lose this teacher to a higher job that will be closer to home.

Keeping in Payette is a problem. The competition comes from all over. Teachers can get a pay rise – still staying close to home – by driving around the River Snake to Oregon. Gilbert hopes that he will lose some teachers at a nearby charter school opening this fall. And then there are the big areas in the Treasure Valley.

Little believes that new teachers, young in the doorway at a two-year plan, will $ 11.5 million. And a minimum $ 40,000 around the board could help smaller areas compete with their urban counterparts. However, it does not address retention issues, in Payette or elsewhere.

Nampa is constantly struggling to hold pre-school teachers, and losing them in the West Ada and Boise areas nearby. And it might not change that, based on what Nampa heard Paula Kellerer's Superintendent during a recent career fair in Northwest Nazarene University. Hunters were enthusiastic about the new minimum wage, but they wanted to find out what would be expected in the last few years on the road.

“They are looking at the salary schedule,” she said. “It is clear to me that they are.”

Competition is only part of the classroom churn. There is then a revival: teachers who retire or leave the profession in a career. The retention rate is affixed to 10 per cent per annum, according to a recent report by the State Education Board, and approximately 1,000 teachers left the profession before reaching retirement age.

Woolstenhulme is expecting some turnover. Some young teachers will retire to start a family, or they will continue to get a higher paid job outside the East Idaho. The losses that most affect teachers are teachers who retire because they can make more money as a retail sales manager.

Former soldiers left behind?

Old news is the minimum salary of $ 40,000 for Geoffrey Thomas, superintendent of Madison Rexburg School School. When he served on that day gov. Task Force K-12 Butch Otter in 2013, Thomas proposed the minimum $ 40,000.

“It's nice to see him kicking,” said Tomás this week, badly.

The Madison School District still argues with a turnover rate of 10 to 12 percent – but during the Great Recession, this rate reached 25 percent. "(It was) as clean decorations," said Superintendent Geoffrey Thomas.

But Thomas said that the task force proposed a three-step plan, with a mid-range wage of $ 50,000 and a maximum of $ 60,000. The Legislature was not going. The state allocates only $ 50,000 for top-top salaries, leaving schools to find the difference.

With the minimum salary rise there, administrators might have to find new ways to re-adjust their pay schedules and get hold of local dollars together to reward veteran teachers.

“It is a particular pressure for us to raise the other salaries,” said Thomas, who already loses teachers with neighboring states, private industry, or higher paid jobs on the BYU-Idaho Rexburg campus.

The problem is very acute in Payette, which has 82 full-time teaching posts. While 45 teachers make less than $ 40,000 a year, 28 teachers make more than $ 50,000.

Some areas use supplementary tax levies approved by voters to reinforce teachers' pay. Gilbert calls a one or two year levy on “soft money,” and she doesn't want the boys of the voters to pay. Instead, Payette makes the difference by using “discretionary” funding – mentioning dollars that come into areas without any strings attached.

One way or another, Gilbert doesn't want to lose seasonal teachers who have called their payette schools.

“They're where you want to put the kids,” she said. “They are high quality teachers.”

The 2019 Statute added $ 7.2 million to a new master teacher premium program, which will provide bonuses of $ 4,000 per annum to high performance archaeological organizers who qualify through a detailed application process. However, a new minimum old-wound salary opens.

From 2015, Idaho put $ 250 million into the career ladder, a five-year salary plan for teachers and a direct result of the work of the Otter task force. Most of the money was reserved for initial teachers, or for teachers with only a few years' experience. A basic Little salary plan is essentially an extension of the career ladder.

All this leaves some veteran teachers left behind, again.

“I have a lot of frustration and anger at the fact that the state legislature does not adequately fund the contribution,” said Mary Anne McGrory, president of Pocatello Education Association.

McGrory understands the new minimum wage law, and recognizes that local administrators must follow the mandate of the state. However, as it enters its second year as the principal negotiator of its local trade union, it states that the new minimum adds to the bargaining process.

“I will never negotiate thinking that it will be easy,” she said. “I am going to hope, but I am also realistic.”

Two hours ago, Peggy Hoy is also going to the bargaining table. Co-president of Twin Falls Education Association, Hoy shares McGrory's concerns. She believes that the state must address teacher retention issues, and that it would help pre-school teachers who “feel left behind.” T

But Hoy is also thinking about politics. For Little, the salary bill represents teachers and victory in first year.

“I think it's a priority for education,” Hoy said. “I think there are good things to come.”

Data analyst Idaho News News Randy Schrader added to this report.

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