Five weeks ago yesterday, Superintendent Tom Luna unveiled his plan to overhaul education in Idaho. On Thursday, the eight men and one woman on the Senate Education Committee will cast the first official votes on Senate Bill 1108 (the union-busting bill), Senate Bill 1113 (previously S1109, the bill to increase class sizes and eliminate up to a thousand Idaho education jobs over the next two years), and Senate Bill 1110 (the pay-for-performance bill).
The committee will meet at 3 p.m. in its usual quarters, Room WW55, a significantly smaller room than the auditorium where last week’s public hearings were held. Representatives of the major education stakeholder groups (including the Idaho Education Association's Sherri Wood) and the governor’s office will have five minutes each for closing remarks, followed by closing remarks from the State Superintendent and his staff. After that, the committee will debate the bills and vote, probably by 5:30.
No matter what happens, it’s important to remember that Thursday’s vote is not the final say on the Luna plan, but the first time lawmakers will weigh in. If the bills pass out of committee, they will be heard by the full Senate next week. It’s not too late to contact members of the Senate Education Committee, but it’s especially important to contact your own state senator and urge her or him to vote no if the bills reach their desks next week.
Follow the vote: Audio streaming of Thursday’s Senate Education Committee meeting will be available via Idaho Legislature Live. We’ll also be posting Sherri Wood’s testimony and news of the debate and vote here on the Hotline as well as on Twitter.