Supporters of public education throughout Idaho celebrated the announcement earlier this week that the Senate Education Committee would not be hearing HB 590, the private school voucher bill, effectively spiking it for this legislative session. The IEA was at the forefront of opposition to this dangerous bill, and our members answered the call by spreading the word and contacting their legislators.
Several other education stakeholder groups and other organizations also went on record opposing HB 590, and there is no doubt their voices helped influence the decision to pull the legislation. Renewed collaboration between education stakeholders in the wake of overturning the Luna Laws has helped Idaho make some inroads in protecting and improving public education. That teamwork played a big role in stopping private school vouchers this year, the Idaho Education Association, the Idaho School Boards Association, and the Idaho Association of School Administrators issued a joint letter thanking all of those what played a part in the defeat of HB 590.
None of us should be surprised if similar legislation surfaces again next year, since proponents have significant financial backing and an agenda they hope to further. But we know their tactics and their end game, and we will be ready. In the meantime, let’s recognize the great work that went into stopping vouchers this year.
K-12 Budgets Sail Through House, Head to Governor’s Desk
The House took very little time in passing the seven bills that make up the K-12 education budget. With no debate, representatives approved $1.8 billion in funding for public education. The education funding bills now go to the desk of Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter for his signature.
Not So Fast on Superintendent’s Budget, as Literacy Debate Continues
The house voted down the proposed budget for the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction by a 42-27 margin. At issue is how the state should handle literacy tests for K-3 students. Read more about what seems to be the major legislative barrier to ending the session from Clark Corbin of Idaho Education News.
Suicide Prevention, Gun Safety Instruction Bills Pass the Senate
The Idaho Senate gave the green light to a number of other bills, including a bill strongly supported by the IEA, HB 634, which would provide training to school employees in suicide prevention strategies. The Senate also passed HB, 443, which would allow (but not require) schools to provide gun safety classes.