The full Senate voted 34-0 (one senator was absent when the vote was taken) late Thursday afternoon to approve HB 296, the career ladder teacher salary formula measure approved earlier this week in the House.
The speed at which this measure has moved through the process is an important sign that lawmakers are serious about finishing their work as quickly as possible and adjourning sine die. Legislative leaders had initially targeted Friday, March 27th as the date for final adjournment of the 2015 session. However, longer-than-anticipated wrangling over career ladder legislation pushed the date back at least into the first week of April. Though leadership has not signaled a new sine die date, the rate at which both the House and Senate are pushing through the legislative proposals before them, it appears they could complete their business next week.
The career ladder bill now makes its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
Senate Panel Approves Anti-Bullying Bill
The Senate Education Committee held an abbreviated meeting on Thursday afternoon to take public testimony on HB 246, legislation co-sponsored by Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking (D-Boise), and Reps. Ilana Rubel (D-Boise) and Pat McDonald (R-Boise).
The committee meeting room was packed with supporters of the measure. Following limited—and heart-wrenching—testimony from parents of children who had been bullied (and in some cases committed suicide as a result) and from students, committee members unanimously approved the measure. The bill now moves to the full Senate for their consideration.
Education Budget to be Set on Friday
The Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) will meet at 8 AM on Friday morning to set the FY 16 public schools budget.
Once the education budget is set, the only outstanding FY 16 budget will be that for transportation funding. Lawmakers continue to debate what, if any, fundraising schemes can garner a majority of support from both the House and the Senate and also clear the desk of Governor Otter.
IEA Joins Other Stakeholder Groups in Opposing Transportation Bill
The IEA, the Idaho Association of School Administrators (IASA), and the Idaho School Boards Association (ISBA) joined forces on Thursday to oppose HB 310, a bill sponsored by Rep. Jason Monks (R-Meridian) that could result in skimming $16 million from the general fund, the only dollars available for the state to fund public schools.
The committee approved the proposal on a close 9-8 vote. It now makes its way to the full House for consideration.
Please contact your representatives and urge them to oppose HB 310. Urge them find other ways to fund road repairs that does not divert money from the general fund.
House Approves HB 300: 6th Grade Alternative School Funding
The full House of Representatives approved HB 300, the measure sponsored by Rep. Lance Clow (R-Twin Falls) that would ensure those school districts that offer 6th grade alternative school programs would receive enhanced funding.
The bill now moves on to the Senate for consideration.