I feel my breath in my lungs oddly. Closing debate about to melt into the roll call where one at a time we say "aye" or "nay." Tom Luna's final bill S1184 YES: 20 NO: 15
I have to whisper "I'm sorry" a thousand times into the air and shift my mind now to those preparing to gather signatures once the legislature adjourns. I remind myself: the 15 of us who voted no are not alone.
NO Votes: Andreason, Bilyeu, Bock, Broadsword, Cameron, Corder, Davis, Darrington, Keough, LeFavour, Malepeai (McWilliams as substitute), Schmidt, Stegner, Stennett, Werk.
Thousands of people, maybe tens of thousands outside this strange marble dome know well what these bills will do to our schools and they are ready to take up a special part of Democracy and work for repeal of all three of Luna's bills by referendum.
We have told teachers a horrible lie in these three bills. We promise "pay for performance" bonuses but we pay for the bonuses by cutting teacher's salaries. Five years from now we will have cut salaries more than we pay out in bonuses. The bonuses are a smoke screen for how radically the bills cut education, how drasically unequal schools will be in their ability to afford to keep teachers employed, expensive experienced teachers who are the anchor of schools, who make education something worthwhile for tens of thousands of Idaho kids. Twenty Republican Senators voted yes.
YES Votes: Bair, Bracket, Fulcher, Goedde, Hammond, Heider, Hill, Lodge, McGee, McKeague, McKenzie, Mortimer, Nuxoll, Pearce, Siddoway, Smyser, Tippets, Toryanski, Vick, Winder.
There will be a narrow window for gathering signatures but as soon as they're gathered an injunction stops implementation and we start working at getting those who care to go to the polls to vote. We have a lot of work to do changing this legislature and electing one with priorities that resemble those I've seen in the past two months in Idaho. Idahoans care about their schools, class sizes and teachers. These bills do not. To think we can stop them in spite of how out of touch this body seems to be.
That gives me hope.
Scroll down and sign up on the email list of Parents and Teachers to find out about volunteering to gather signatures once the Referendum signature gathering begins. http://idahoparentsandteachers.com/