Community Blog: The EDge

Nampa district ups the ante in its dealings with the teachers’ union

One of the controversial school labor laws is being put into practice, in the Nampa School District.

Michaelson mug
Thomas Michaelson, interim superintendent, Nampa School District

The school district has asked the Nampa Education Association to ratify that it represents at least one-half of the district’s staff, Interim Superintendent Thomas Michaelson told Idaho Education News this week.

Senate Bill 1149 allows school districts to request ratification, on an annual basis. It’s one of several labor bills that passed the 2013 Legislature — and restored elements of the failed Proposition 1 law. The Idaho School Boards Association proposed SB 1149; the Idaho Education Association opposed it.

It’s unclear whether the Nampa Education Association will be able to meet the 50 percent plus one hurdle. The Idaho Press-Tribune has reported the union represents only 40 percent of district teachers.

The ratification request puts contract negotiations on hold in Nampa, at least for the time being. Michaelson said he did not want to begin negotiations until after the end of the 2013 session, and after the district had a better idea of how much money it could expect from state general funds.

But the district’s request could add to the tensions between the Nampa district and the local teachers’ union. The Nampa union sued the district earlier this month, saying their members were pressured into taking unpaid furlough days. Michaelson says the furlough days were strictly voluntary, and 60 percent of teachers and all administrators signed on.

More reading: Here’s a link to my profile of Michaelson. And here’s a link to a Voices guest opinion from Cindy Omlin on the majority representation issue.

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger at Idaho Education News (idahoednews.org). Kevin is a former Statesman editorial page editor, with 27 year's experience in Idaho journalism.

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