A busy Friday docket meant that HB 590, the private school voucher bill, did not come up for discussion and a vote on the House floor. It is likely that the bill, which passed the House Education Committee by a narrow 9-7 margin, will hit the House floor Monday. Which means that you have the weekend to contact your legislators to let them know you oppose HB 590—and they should too.
The Idaho State Board of Education joined the long list of education stakeholders who are on record opposing HB 590, voting 7-0 to formalize their opposition. State Board Executive Director Matt Freeman had expressed concerns with the impact the bill would have on Board staff during testimony before the House Education Committee, but the State Board members had not taken a formal position of support or opposition until today’s special meeting.
A full list of organizations opposing the private school voucher bill, along with other information and resources, can be found on the Protect Idaho’s Public Schools website.
State Board Also Opposes HB 566
Another bill opposed by the IEA, HB 566, also received formal opposition from the State Board during their Friday conference call. This bill would allow charter schools to hire administrators with a college degree and no education or classroom experience. HB 566 has passed the House and is awaiting action from the Senate Education Committee.
House Education Committee Advances Rural Support Network Bill
Superintendent Sherri Ybarra has advocated for a rural schools network initiative that would help districts in rural areas pool their resources. This year’s version of that legislation passed the House Education Committee Friday. HB 630 now moves to the House floor. In each of the last two years, the rural schools network bill has passed the House but died in the Senate. JFAC has once again declined to provide funding for Ybarra’s legislation, but could fund it with a trailer bill if it were to make it through both chambers. Read more about the rural schools network bill from Clark Corbin of Idaho Education News.