House panel signs off on teacher unpaid leave bill

School districts could have more power to put teachers on unpaid administrative leave under a revised version of a bill sponsored by the Idaho School Board Association.

After lengthy debate, the House Education Committee passed legislation Friday that gives districts the ability to place teachers on leave without pay if they’re in jail or facing a criminal court order.

Teachers under internal investigation by their district could be placed on paid leave.

Executive Director of the ISBA Karen Echeverria said districts and taxpayers shouldn’t be responsible for paying educators under criminal investigation.

But teachers union attorney Paul Stark said the legislation would punish teachers before they’re found guilty.

An amendment to give teachers paid leave failed on a 13-3 committee vote.

The bill now heads to the House for debate.