King For a Day

By Levi B Cavener

Idaho has $26 million education dollars; here’s how I’d use it.

Levi B CavenerState superintendent Tom Luna announced today that he won’t be implementing the task force proposal to raise teacher salaries by implementing a tiered teacher certification system.

The fact that Luna is choosing to proceed with all the recommendations of the task force aside increasing teacher pay speaks volumes about Luna’s feelings about teachers, and that issue  will receive a post of its own right here soon. However, turning back to the issue at hand, then, is what to do with those dollars meant to implement that recommendation.

Well here’s a few items that this little special education teacher thinks are important.

Back pay teachers’ steps on the salary grid. Emergency measures at the state level kept educators, like myself, frozen in the grid for two years. When you count on your salary to at least keep up with inflation to, oh I don’t know…make student loan payments, then a first priority should be to let teachers know you haven’t forgotten their own sacrifices. But, you know, it’s not like the money available this year was meant to increase those very salaries…err was it?

Next, restore “classroom unit” operation funding, or at least some of it, so that districts can offer “platinum” amenities like a real five day school week, bussing for kindergartners, and maybe a fabled 180 day school year for students without Idaho’s new favorite word: furlough.

Pay for  those additional mandates you approved of this year like extra funding for the new physical education requirements. It’s not like schools are suggesting that they actually fire their PE staff and have regular elementary teachers instruct gym in order to pay for those requirements, right?

Oh, here’s a good one: Provide a permanent subsidized emergency loan fund that Idaho schools can actually borrow from without years of red tape to repair schools that have roofs about to collapse. You know, just in case, because clearly Idaho schools aren’t literally crumbling to the ground while the state stands by and watches.

But, you know, I don’t get paid the big bucks to make recommendations like this.

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