New Legislation Would Address Retiring Teacher’s Sick Leave Bank “Gap”

While many teachers retire directly from their normal full time teaching position, many others choose to reduce their duties to a half time or classified position for a year or two before throwing in the towel completely.

Unfortunately, this choice has caused more than a few tears when these individuals go to retire. That’s because a teacher’s accrued unused sick leave distribution is calculated using a formula dependent on the salary at the year of retirement.

For a teacher who chooses to ease out into retirement by going half time or trade teaching for a classified position, the distribution at retirement could be substantially less when calculated using the salary at the time of retirement.

Senator Janae Ward-Engelking (D-Boise)

The proposal, sponsored by Janae Ward-Engelking, would eliminate this heartburn that is a retirement surprise of the worst kind by substituting the language of “the year of retirement” for “highest year of salary.”

This change would ensure that sick leave accrued during decades of teaching will not suddenly lose over half its value if a teacher chooses to ease out slowly instead of all at once.

Unused sick days can become very valuable at retirement because they can be cashed out at half their normal value upon retirement to be used to continue paying health, dental, vision, and life insurance premiums.

For many, unused sick leave establishes a “bridge” between retirement age and Medicare/Social Security age by paying for interim health insurance premiums.

Obviously, an educator who chooses to go part time might not realize how that decision would impact their retirement, particularly if they have accumulated a substantial cache of sick leave over the duration of their career unless this change is made.

As the fiscal note states, the cost of this change would be relatively low considering that teachers had banked these days under their higher salaries while teaching full time and paying into the system at a higher rate.

STEM Diploma Unveiled: Will Idaho Offer Two Types of Graduation Certificates?

Sen. Nonini (R- Coeur d’Alene)

Senator Nonini is sponsoring a bill that would create two seperate diplomas for graduating high school students in lieu of the current single statewide diploma.

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Ybarra vs Dillon Campaign Finance Disclosures Fuels Speculation, Unknowns

Today was the due date for candidates’ 2017 annual election finance disclosure reports.

View Ybarra’s Return

View Dillon’s Return

And while at first glance there does not appear to be anything too juicy, the absence of some items is the real story.

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New Bill Seeks to Allow Districts to Dump Common Core in Idaho

Rep. Ronald Nate

Rep. Ronald Nate (R-Rexburg) has introduced a bill that would allow districts to dump Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and replace them with…well that part isn’t quite clear.

The bill doesn’t change the fact that Idaho has adopted CCSS as the state’s content standards. Instead, in a curious workaround, the bill’s text states that if Idaho embraces CCSS, then districts have the prerogative to express their displeasure of that decision by dropping CCSS and replacing it with standards of the local district’s choosing. Continue reading

Wanted: Jeff Dillon’s Campaign

Wilder Supt. Dillon

You couldn’t blame even a well informed Idaho primary voter for failing to know that Idaho’s incumbent for the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has a primary challenge this spring.

Jeff Dillon, Superintendent of Wilder School District, is running against State Superintendent Ybarra in the GOP primary. Or at least that’s what the Secretary of State says. Continue reading

Hearing Aid Draft Bill Surfaces to Help Students and their Families

Representative Llana Rubel is seeking a cosponsor for a bill that would raise the requirements insurance must cover for devices and services related to a hearing impairment.

Unfortunately for many struggling Idaho families, the cost of hearing aides, cochlear implant, and therapies can run into the thousands of dollars, and insurance currently either does not cover or does not entirely cover the cost associated with these.  This leaves many kiddos attending our schools without the supports they need. Continue reading