On Tuesday afternoon, the Senate Education Committee will hear Senate Bill 1184, the new “third rail” of Supt. Tom Luna’s education package. Earlier today, Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey posted an email from Idaho School Boards Association (ISBA) executive director Karen Echeverria in which she wrote, “We want you to know that we have been warned that school districts will face some consequences should we work to kill this bill.”
According to Echeverria’s message, the consequences could include forced consolidation of some of Idaho's 115 schools districts, loss of funding for the increased math and science requirements and additional cuts for Idaho Digital Learning Academy.
It’s clear that the superintendent and Gov. Otter are hoping to make quick work of SB 1184. It remains to be seen whether their bullying and intimidation tactics will shut down truthful debate of the devastating impacts of this bill. The IEA will remind lawmakers that even though the sponsors of this bill claim that it will give flexibility and local control to districts, that is a false claim.
While it is true that school districts will have a choice on how to spend the money they’re allocated, funding to districts will be cut so significantly that they’ll have to decide between cutting teachers, reducing pay, or increasing class sizes. Some districts may have to resort to all three strategies. SB 1184 will bring nothing but further losses in Idaho jobs and larger class sizes for our children.
Please contact members of the Senate Education Committee tonight! Urge them to hold SB 1184 in committee.
John Goedde, Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dean Mortimer Vice Chair, email@example.com
John Andreason, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicole LeFavour, email@example.com
Monty Pearce, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chuck Winder, email@example.com
Mitch Toryanski, firstname.lastname@example.org
Russell Fulcher, email@example.com
Sine Die on April 1? It’s no April Fool’s joke
Idaho Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis (R-Idaho Falls) today announced to the full Senate that beginning this week they will meet on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons in an attempt to complete their work by Friday, April 1.
While the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) has not yet set the education budget, they have completed pretty much all other work. Though the April 1 date for Sine Die is not etched in stone, Sen. Davis told lawmakers that barring any unforeseen hiccups along the way, they can probably complete their work in the next two weeks. The House got into the act today, too: It suspended rules this afternoon to debate appropriation bills that are on its 2nd Reading Calendar. House Majority Leader Mike Moyle told Eye on Boise that the move was needed if the Legislature is going to wrap up its work within the next two weeks.
Experts propose solutions to transform education
The Idaho Statesman recently asked education experts to weigh in on the following question: If you had all the flexibility to do what you want, what specific steps would you take to improve education given Idaho's ongoing budget gap, including the $62 million shortfall projected for K-12 schools in fiscal 2012? In essence, what would you do that doesn't cost more money, in fact costs less money?
The IEA joined administrators, business leaders, former Idaho School Superintendent Jerry Evans, former legislator and retired IEA member Gail Bray, higher education deans, and others in answering that question.