Hope and Referendum

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.

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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/

5 thoughts on “Hope and Referendum

  1. Toni - March 24, 2011

    Stay strong Nicole!!!! We’re with you.

  2. Bjparkinson@worldnet.att.net - March 24, 2011

    Thank you for keeping us all posted and for your hard work!! Repealing sounds like a great idea!

  3. nicole - March 24, 2011

    The problems with the legislation are endless. In all those hours of debate we ran through some of it but the bill we passed today promises lap tops which we were told are supposed to make teachers jobs easier and education better– but we took the money to pay for them out of the fund that keeps class sizes from growing and so we hurt the quality of education just to send dollars to out of state computer manufacturers and internet schools who have given heavily to the Governor, Tom Luna and many others. In the bill we offer to let high school seniors take on-line dual credit classes, forcing High Schools to send their scarce funds off to virtual colleges even if the courses have no academic merit or students drop the classes or fail them. Schools are forced by this bill to pick up the tab regardless, forced to give up schools funding for technology they might need far less than a teacher to teach a class. And we just passed this legislation. We passed it.

  4. Cyn - March 24, 2011

    Thank you for your efforts to prevent these hideous bills from becoming law. The referendum HAS to work….when and where can we sign?

  5. Rick B. - August 10, 2011

    What you are facing is definitely not easy to handle especially for weak individuals. You are one brave and strong individual which makes you really admirable. Stay still and continue to fight the things that you believe is right!

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