(Note: This is the first of a three-part series examining what a “yes” or “no” vote means on the state’s three propositions to be decided by voters in the general election Nov. 6. Wednesday Proposition 2 will be featured. Thursday it will be Proposition 3.)
In what would otherwise be a less-than-contentious general election at the state level with no statewide positions up for election, voters nonetheless have three education reform issues to consider that are dominating election interest. They are Propositions 1, 2 and 3, commonly called the Luna Laws.
Approved by the 2011 Legislature and signed by the governor, the measures were immediately challenged by a petition drive that produced the 75,000 valid signatures to get all three measures on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The dispute over the laws has found Idaho’s two most noted education-related organizations on opposite sides. The Idaho Education Association is adamant in its opposition to the education reform laws; the State Board of Education supports them.
A yes vote supports and keeps in place Senate Bill 1108 (Proposition 1).
A no vote repeals the bill and reinstates the laws that were formerly on the books.
The Idaho Statesman contracted with Mason-Dixon Polling & Research of Washington, D.C., to poll 625 individuals who said they were likely to vote Nov. 6. With a margin of error of minus 4, the Statesman reports there is a 95 percent probability that its voter survey is accurate.
What it shows is an electorate that could go either way in approving Proposition 1 (a yes vote) or repealing the reform measure (a no vote). The poll, conducted during a three-day period last week, found 42 percent saying they will vote no, 38 percent yes, which leaves 20 percent undecided.
Proposition 1: On the ballot, voters will be asked whether to approve Senate Bill 1108. In short, the question before voters is this:
“Shall the legislation limiting negotiated agreements between teachers and local school boards and ending the practice of issuing renewable contracts be approved?”
|What a “yes” vote means||What a “no” vote means|
|Labor negotiations no longer last indefinitely; they’re limited to one year, and cannot be extended indefinitely through so-called “evergreen clauses.”||Once a school board and labor union negotiate a contract, it can remain in place forever if either side does not wish to reopen labor negotiations, even if either the elected school board changes or the leadership of the labor union changes.|
|Labor unions must demonstrate that they represent more than 50 percent of the employees in a school district in order to demand collective bargaining.||Even in school districts where the labor union represents a minority of the professional educators, the union would have the ability to require that the school district negotiate a contract with it.|
|Collective bargaining is limited to salaries and benefits.||A labor contract can cover anything the union and school board want the contract to cover.|
|Seniority is no longer the deciding factor when it comes to staff reductions; school boards will be able to retain the best or most qualified teachers for positions.||Seniority would remain a deciding factor when it comes to staff reductions.|
|Tenure is phased out for teachers who have not yet earned it. Instead, teachers will operate on one- and two-year contracts.||Teachers will still be able to have tenure, meaning they will be more difficult to dismiss if the school board finds cause to terminate.|
|All labor negotiations between the school board and labor union must take place in open session.||All labor negotiations between the school board and labor union may take place in secret behind closed doors.|