By a 53-16 vote, the House passed HB 0270, sponsored by Rep. Jason Monks (R-Nampa), which would prohibit school districts from using public funds to campaign for or against bonds and levies. The bill would also impose criminal charges against district officials who cross an arbitrary line regarding voter information. District officials could be subject to criminal fines of up to $1,000. If the legislation passes, districts would not be able to share information with patrons about what the bond or levy would be used for—only when the election would be held and where they can vote.
At a time when a majority of Idaho districts have had to resort to local bond and levy measures because of underfunding from the state, this legislation would be extremely detrimental to the ability of districts to provide the resources needed for a quality education. The bill now moves to the Senate, and we urge you to let your Senators know that you oppose this legislation that would be harmful to students and communities.
Senate Gives Go-ahead to Funding Formula Committee
The Senate approved legislation that will give the school funding formula committee the green light to proceed with the second year of their work, and provided them with a budget of $400,000 to seek outside assistance. Much of the money will be used to for computer modeling to analyze possible changes/improvements to the way Idaho funds public education. The committee has already held one round of meetings, and could provide recommendations for revamping the state’s 23-year-old funding formula as early as the 2018 legislative session. The House had already approved HCR012, so the Senate’s OK Tuesday puts the committee back to work. Concurrent resolutions do not require a signature from the governor.
Senate Education Committee Passes Speech and Debate Day Resolution
In an earlier Hotline we shared the story of IEA member Cliff Davis, who teaches at Hillcrest High School in Bonneville. Davis was named one of five finalists for the National Speech and Debate Educator of the Year award, and in his honor, Rep. Wendy Horman (R-Idaho Falls) put forward HCR 025 proclaiming March 3 as National Speech and Debate Day in Idaho. That legislation unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee Tuesday and now moves to the full Senate.