As happens every year at this time, education bills are beginning to rain down at the Capitol. Several bills related to the recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force have already emerged. On Tuesday, a bill sponsored by Rep. Steven Harris (R-Meridian) that would pave the way for mastery learning pilot programs was printed by the House Education Committee. On Wednesday, the House panel printed a bill that would modify slightly, the requirements for school districts to ensure they are trained and develop continuous improvement plans.
Members of the Senate Education Committee voted to print three measures on Wednesday. The first, sponsored by Sen. Jim Patrick (R-Twin Falls) would require every Idaho public high school student to pass a civics test as a prerequisite to graduation. The second measure introduced by Sen. Steven Thayn (R-Emmett) would allow any Idaho high school students to substitute an alternative assessment in lieu of completing the ISAT/SBAC test for graduation. Senator Mary Souza (R-CDA), introduced legislation that would require candidates running for school board to file campaign finance reports like all other elected officials.
Here are a few other education bills that have already been introduced this session.
HB 65 is sponsored by Rep. Ronald Nate (R-Rexburg). This legislation directs the Superintendent of Public Instruction to begin the process of removing Idaho from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing.
HB 71, sponsored by Rep. Paul Shepherd (R-Riggins), would create a special Maniac license plate. The funds raised by this plate would be used to help fund activities for the Joint School District 171.
HB 83, sponsored by Rep. Ryan Kerby (R-New Plymouth), would provide scholarships to students who earn college credits while in high school. A student who earns 10 to 19 college credits while enrolled in high school would qualify for a $1,000 scholarship to attend an Idaho college or university for up to two years, if the student could get matching scholarships from the private sector. A student who earns 20 or more college credits would be eligible for a $2,000 state scholarship for up to two years if matched by the private sector. And, any high school student who earns an Associate’s Degree before high school graduation would receive a two year, full-tuition scholarship, if matched by the private sector.
HCR 3, sponsored by Rep. Lynn Luker (R-Boise), would set up a legislative interim committee to study student data collection.
SB 1018 has been introduced by the State Department of Education. This bill would eliminate the requirement for the SDE to maintain certification/recertification fees in two separate funds. If approved, all certification fees would flow into one fund and those funds would be used to fund the work of the Professional Standards Commission and teacher certification work. The Senate approved this measure. It is now awaiting a hearing in the House Education Committee.
SB1019, also being sponsored by the SDE, would change the fee structure for individuals who are required to submit to fingerprinting and background checks in order to work or volunteer in schools.
Judge Issues Declares Final Judgment: IEN Contract is Void
Wednesday afternoon, 4th District Judge Patrick Owen ruled soundly against the state, declaring the IEN contract—and work for other state agencies in contracts with Education Networks of America and Qwest—void.
This decision could prove to be costly for the state, and could also jeopardize the broadband connectivity for school districts for the remainder of this year and until the state finds a long-term solution.
We will provide more information in a future edition of the hotline. In the meantime, you can learn more and read the judge’s ruling in an article by Spokesman Review writer Betsy Russell’s Eye on Boise blog.