Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter addressed the controversial House Joint Resolution 1, along with other issues, during a mid-session briefing with the Idaho Press Club. When asked about HJR1, Otter said, in part, “I am very, very cautious about fussing with the Constitution.” In referring to the crafters and proponents of the legislation, he said, “I think they’re probably picking at an old scar, and they’re probably going to make it a sore next.”
The bill seeks to amend Idaho’s constitution to ease the current restrictions on the use of public funds for private and religious schools. The IEA and other education stakeholders are staunchly opposed to HJR1 and the precedent that it would set. Please let your representatives know that you oppose this bill that could pull more money away from our already underfunded public education system and funnel it to private schools with very limited oversight and accountability.
You can read more about the current status of HJR1 and the problems that it would create on the IEA website.
When asked about the tax cut bill that has passed the House and is awaiting a potential hearing in the Senate, Otter said simply, “My priority is my education package.” The Governor has proposed a 7.9% increase in funding for public education.
Meanwhile, SB 1248 could be heard by the full Senate as early as Monday. This bill would give charter schools the “flexibility” to issue one-year and ‘at-will’ contracts to charter school teachers that would never assure these teachers could receive continuing contract status. The Senate Education Committee passed this bill over the objections of the IEA, ISBA, and IASA.
Your input can make a difference. Please contact your senator and tell them to vote NO on SB 1248.
Class Size Bill Introduced
The House Education Committee will consider a bill that would permit a comparison of class sizes among districts of similar enrollment, rather than on a statewide level for funding purposes. Sponsored by Rep. Mark Nye (D-Pocatello), the bill would allow for urban schools to be compared with each other, rather than with rural schools, in order to compute Idaho’s “use it or lose it” funding formula.