Thanks in large part to the overwhelming response from IEA members and other concerned parties, H0258 has been pulled from the House Education Committee agenda and is not expected to resurface this year. This legislation would have allowed charter schools to hire uncertified teachers who would not have to seek alternative authorization, pursue certification or report to the Professional Standards Commission.
“This is a victory for our profession and a testament to our strength as an association and the importance of each of you voicing your opinion and standing up against harmful policies,” said IEA President Penni Cyr. “We appreciate our members taking time out of their busy schedules to share their concerns with legislators and defeat this bill.”
The legislation had passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee and was scheduled to be heard Thursday by the House Education Committee. However, it was doomed by a lack of support from education stakeholder groups and concerns about the lack of accountability and responsibility that it would grant to public charter schools.
A cross-section of well-respected educators is working to find long-term solutions to Idaho’s teacher shortage, and there was also concern that this legislation might hinder their efforts. The IEA is represented on the Educator Pipeline Committee by President Cyr, Interim Executive Director Sue Wigdorski, and members Melyssa Ferro, Sue Darden and Mary Anne McGrory.
Gun Safety Bill Held in House Education Committee
Legislation that would have “encouraged and authorized” school districts to offer gun safety classes on school grounds was held in the House Education Committee Tuesday on a 9-6 vote. HB 240, sponsored by Rep. Ron Nate (R-Rexburg), raised questions about cost, logistics and necessity from the committee. Read more from Clark Corbin of Idaho Education News.
Ybarra’s Rural Schools Plan Passes House, Future Still Uncertain
A project that State Superintendent Sherri Ybarra has championed for the last two years, a rural schools network, passed the full House in a close vote of 37-33. The bill now moves to the full Senate, where it failed last year. HB 223 would set up a three-year pilot project to help schools in rural areas share resources and ideas.
Funding for the Rural Schools Network would come from Ybarra’s State Department of Education budget, with a price tag of $300,000 per year. Some House members expressed hesitation about adding new expenses to the balance sheet. Idaho’s Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee did not include funding for this project when it passed the State Department of Education budget Tuesday morning, but they can pass “trailer” legislation if the bill passes the Senate.