House Approves Charter School Facilities Bill
The House of Representatives extended their morning session and worked well into the time they typically break for lunch to determine the fate of HB 206 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/H0206.htm).
HB 206 is the legislation that will provide facilities money for charter schools.
Following lengthy debate, the bill passed 42-27. This bill now moves to the Senate Education Committee, where it will once again be vetted. If approved, charter schools will receive $1.4 million next year to purchase, rent, or renovate already purchased buildings. Virtual schools will receive 50% of their actual building costs. The facilities funds will come directly from the K-12 school budget. The amount charter schools will receive in succeeding years will be tied to a formula that, at least in part, is directly tied to the amount of school bond levies and school plant facilities levies that are passed each year.
ACTION: Contact members of the Senate Education Committee (http://legislature.idaho.gov/about/contactbycommittee.cfm) and urge them to vote NO on HB 206, the charter school facilities bill.
Bill to Eliminate ERIP Passes House Committee by Party Line Vote
In what’s becoming a common practice, members of the House Education Committee approved SB 1089 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1089.htm), the bill that will repeal the Early Retirement Incentive Program for teachers, on a straight party-line vote.
In testimony before the committee, SDE legislative aide Jason Hancock acknowledged that the ERIP program does, in fact, save the state money. However, he qualified his remarks by asserting that the program does not “incentivize” large numbers of teachers to leave the profession.
The IEA provided committee members with research that shows ERIP has saved the state nearly $100 million since 1996, when it was first approved by the legislature. The IEA further shared with committee members that several other states have created similar programs to help save state dollars.
The bill now moves to the House for a full debate.
ACTION: Contact members your two House members (http://legislature.idaho.gov/about/contactbyname.cfm) and urge them to vote NO on SB 1089.