Panel introduces new teacher paid leave bill

Idaho lawmakers have agreed to debate whether teachers under criminal investigation or in jail should be paid for their time away from the classroom.

The House Education Committee introduced legislation Monday that would pay teachers placed on involuntary leave.

The bill includes slight tweaks to a separate measure sponsored by the Idaho School Board Association that makes certain cases of involuntary leave unpaid.

Boise Democrat Rep. Janie Ward-Engelking said the revised bill offers a compromise by placing the teacher’s earnings in an escrow account until the investigation is resolved.

Districts would recoup the funds if the employee is found guilty, but the teacher would get a check if a judge or jury concludes they’re innocent.