Joel Williams has been teaching music for 30 years in Idaho, 25 of them in Fruitland.
“We are the core, the definition of what Fruitland is, our local school," said Williams.
Joel says nearly 89% of teachers in the district stay in Fruitland, but the past few years, more are heading to neighboring Oregon.
“We have teachers that have left and gone over there for better pay and better benefits," said Williams.
Williams says ten years ago, during the economic downturn, teachers' salaries took a big hit.
"We spent three, four years either losing money, getting paid less, or holding the line," said Williams,
"The legislature has done a great job of raising our funding for education in the last six years; however, the cost of living keeps going up too, so when you factor inflation into it, a 2% raise isn’t really a raise."
The veteran teacher pay legislation just passed in the house, meaning veteran teachers like Joel, are closer to having their pay go back up.
“There’s hope for teachers who are beginning, and they can see a future and a livelihood," said Williams.
Veteran teachers play a crucial role, both in bringing advanced skills to the classroom and mentoring starting teachers.
Joel says this bill encourages all teachers to continue in the field. Now, the drum roll is starting to see what the Senate will decide.
It’s my hope we’ll be able to hold onto these teachers in this state they’re so valuable, not only to the students but to the young new teachers who are coming in because we show them the ropes," said Joel.