CONFEREES: Rep. Bob Behning; Rep. Shelli Vandenburgh; Sen. Dennis Kruse; Sen. John Broden.
Just as ISTA thought a new attempt to insert the Governor's bill to have the state give more money to charter school teachers was over, it was proposed to be inserted into HB 1319 yesterday.
ACTION ITEM: Please contact the conferees listed above plus your own state representative and state senator urging them to oppose the inclusion of anything other than a study committee on teacher incentives for HB 1319.
If you would rather make a phone call into the House and Senate Switchboards, please use the following numbers and ask for the legislative assistant for each of the various legislators you wish to speak to:
The Governor's CECI co-director and special assistant for education innovation, Claire Fiddian-Green was given the opportunity to testify before the Conference Commitee requesting on behalf of the Governor that "a framework" for the Governor's teacher salary bonus program and a summer study committee on the topic of teacher incentives be inserted into the bill. Others were there to testify on HB 1319 but were not given the opportunity.
The problem with a "framework" in law is that it will bind next session's general assembly to prioritize funding for this program--without even knowing what the study will unveil.
As we've told you before, short sessions are not "funding" sessions and to permit an idea--ANY idea--to get these kinds of legs is patently unfair to every other funding priority and advocacy group that has properly waited its turn for the long, budget-writing session.
It should make no difference that this is a Governor's request. In fact, it should matter more that this is a Governor's initiative--ensuring that even he must play by the same rules that every other stakeholder group must play by is essential to good government. The only exception to funding programs in a short session would be if there were a bona fide emergency situation. There is not here.
ISTA certainly does not oppose studying the idea for added incentives for teachers. Let's make that clear. But it should be a part of a bigger discussion and not artificially created without study or real debate.
Members and supporters of public schools should contact the conferees and their own legislators to ensure that this "framework" is not amended into HB 1319 or any other bill.