The alarming private school voucher bill, HB 590 passed the Idaho House in a 39-31 vote Monday. Twenty Republicans joined all the Democrats in voting against this legislation, which now goes to the Senate. We urge you to contact members of the Senate Education Committee and the Senator from your local legislative district and tell them to vote NO on HB 590.
IEA President Kari Overall issued the following statement about the passage of HB 590 in the House:
“It is very disappointing to see the Idaho House vote to approve an unnecessary bill that could pave the way for diverting public funds to private and religious schools. The IEA and every major education stakeholder group have voiced their opposition to this legislation and will continue the fight to protect Idaho’s Public Schools by defeating HB 590.
There is no reason for the Idaho government or State Board of Education to be involved with a private school scholarship program when the mechanisms for such a program already exist. This bill is a very thinly veiled attempt to set up a voucher or tax credit program that would pull money away from our already under-resourced public schools and funnel it to private schools that do not have the same access and accountability as our public schools.”
Several legislators offered compelling testimony in opposition to HB 590, which has been portrayed as simply a “scholarship bill”. Perhaps the most relevant testimony came from the bill’s sponsor, Rep. John Vander Woude, R- Nampa, who said the legislation does not contain any provisions contributions from public funds, but then added the key phrase “for now”.
A reminder that the following organizations have joined the IEA opposing this deceptive legislation.
- Idaho School Boards Association
- Idaho Association of School Administrators
- Idaho State Board of Education
- Idaho State Department of Education
- Idaho PTA
- Idaho Business for Education
- Idaho ACLU
- Southern Idaho Conference Superintendents
- American Association of University Women-Idaho
For more information on what school vouchers are and why they represent such a threat to Idaho’s public schools, please visit the Protect Idaho’s Public Schools website.
For news coverage of today’s vote on HB 590 in the Idaho House, read the story from Clark Corbin of Idaho Education News.