Boise, ID – Idaho’s schools Superintendent has asked lawmakers to increase the money they send to schools by 4.7%. Tom Luna had asked for more than five percent back in September, but he’s adjusted for a drop in the state’s revenue estimate. One thing Luna is not adjusting is his insistence that lawmakers replace cuts made last year to the chunk of money the state puts aside for teachers’ salaries. That money was taken to pay for Luna’s Students Come First education overhaul. Restoring that money for salaries may hold the key to gaining teacher support for the laws.
Tom Luna “If somebody were to tell any of us, hey I’ve got a great idea but first we’re going to cut your pay 15% and then you can participate…I think it would be hard for anybody to buy into that.”
Luna needs public support for Students Come First because there’s a referendum to overturn the laws on November’s ballot.
Tom Luna “And I’m convinced that by then, you’ll see teachers realizing that their pay hasn’t been cut because of these reforms. And I think when we get to November, the last thing people are going to want to do is go back to the system we had before.”
But restoring the money for salaries may not be easy. It doesn’t appear in Governor Butch Otter’s budget recommendation. Otter wants the money put in school emergency funds then maybe salaries if there’s any extra. Luna wants to take the opposite approach.