On Thursday, House Ed Chairman Reed DeMordaunt (R-Eagle) told members of the House Education Committee that HB 222 needed some “tweaks” and that new career ladder legislation would be forthcoming. No legislation was introduced on Thursday, and the House Education Committee is not scheduled to meet on Friday.
Conversations continue and the IEA is deeply engaged in discussions with policy makers, all in an attempt to ensure that a new piece of legislation addresses the list of concerns teachers raised at Tuesday’s hearing on HB 222.
Will Transportation Overshadow Education Funding?
HB 266, introduced Wednesday in the House Ways and Means Committee, would take $10 million from the General Fund to fix Idaho roads.
According to a story published in the Idaho Statesman, the bill would raise more than $120 million through a combination of means, including taking money from the General Fund. It is important to note that the only state money for public schools is drawn directly from the General Fund.
In 2006, then-Governor Jim Risch called a special one-day legislative session where lawmakers agreed to a tax shift eliminating most school property taxes and raising the sales tax to cover the difference—effectively destabilizing school funding. State funding for schools is derived from the General Fund and since that 2006 decision, voters in communities all across Idaho have raised their own property taxes to backfill local school district budgets by more than $1 billion through supplemental levies.
HB 266, sponsored by Rep. John Vander Woude (R-Nampa) and supported by Republican House Leadership will only exacerbate problems to increase school funding back to 2009 levels.
Please email your legislators and urge them to oppose HB 266. Please also send a message to House Leaders: Rep’s Scott Bedke, Mike Moyle, Brent Crane and John Vander Woude. Urge them to put our children and our public schools first by finding another solution to fix Idaho’s roads that does not take money that should rightly be used to educate our children.
State/Districts Save Significant Money on Broadband
Spokesman Review reporter Betsy Russell filed a report today outlining the savings that districts and the state will realize as a result of moving away from the statewide contract for the now-defunct Idaho Education Network.
According to Russell, the short-term contracts for the rest of this school year show that costs have decreased by 37% and the cost per megabit has decreased even more—61%.
JFAC included funding for FY16 in the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s budget to ensure that local school districts will be able to contract independently for the coming year, too.
That decision was firmed up on Thursday, when JFAC stripped funding and personnel positions from the Department of Administration’s budget.
Senate Approves Extending Sunshine Law to School Board Candidates
On a vote of 24-11, the Senate approved SB1072a, freshman Mary Souza’s (R-CDA) bill requiring candidates for local school boards in districts with more than 500 students to file campaign finance reports.
In floor debate, Sen. Souza pointed out that there might be those who want to influence elected school board members or the outcome of a local election. Consequently, this bill would create more transparency.
The bill now moves to the House for consideration.