Idaho school districts grapple with teacher salary changes



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NAMPA, Idaho (AP) — School districts across the state are grappling with changes stemming from a new state law raising the salary for teachers and the major districts west of Boise are no exception.

The starting wage increase of 4.5 percent will have a large effect on the Nampa School District where a financial crisis in 2012 caused many veteran teachers to leave and brought an influx of first-time educators to the city, said Superintendent David Peterson.

"For our younger teachers — and we have a lot of younger teachers — the career ladder seems to be significantly beneficial," Peterson told the Idaho Press-Tribune (http://bit.ly/1ER4Y7I ). "It doesn't seem to be as beneficial to those who are at the top of our salary schedule, so we're going to need to talk to the (Nampa Education Foundation) about that."

Lawmakers earlier this year approved a sweeping plan to raise salaries for Idaho's teachers, funding a 7.4 percent increase to the education budget that raised rookie teacher pay to $37,000 over the next five years.

Caldwell Superintendent Tim Rosandick said he hopes the changes will help his district recruit and retain more teachers. He said Baby Boomers are retiring and the higher salaries will make Caldwell more competitive.

"I can say with strong confidence that teachers in Caldwell will be making more money than they're making this school year because of the career ladder," Rosandick said. "There will be enhanced revenue coming to us from the state where we'll be able to pay teachers more money than they're being paid this year."

Vallivue School Superintendent Pat Charlton said he expects the increased salary to help attract and retain "excellent educators."

"For this coming year it's going to allow us to probably have about a 2 percent raise for our teachers," Charlton said. "We just haven't figured out exactly what that might look like yet."

At the Middleton School District, Superintendent Richard Bauscher said he expects about a 3 percent raise for teachers.

"(I went to) a two-hour workshop on career ladders, and a lot of superintendents were asking questions that didn't have a lot of sound answers," Bauscher said. "It's fine, but it's going to take us some time."

All the superintendents said negotiations with local teachers' unions are ongoing.

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Information from: Idaho Press-Tribune, http://www.idahopress.com

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The Associated Press

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