The first week of the 2012 Idaho Legislature has concluded. We’ll recap some of the week’s events, but first, here is a look ahead to early next week:
Many people have the day off, but the Idaho Legislature does meet on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Senate Education Committee has S1217, the bill clarifying parental input into teacher evaluations, on its calendar for Monday. The panel meets in Room WW55 at 3 p.m.
Later Monday, consider attending the “Kitchen Table Economics” event in the Capitol Auditorium from 6 to 8 p.m. About a dozen Idahoans will speak briefly on their struggles with unemployment, low-wage jobs, and student loan debt, among other topics. We’ll also learn more about why Idaho has such low wages compared to other states. The Idaho Education Association is part of the Idaho Jobs Coalition sponsoring the event.
On Tuesday, back in room WW55 at 3 p.m., the Senate Education Committee will hear testimony on two key topics: the rule requiring two online credits for high school graduation and the rule which – as we reported on Wednesday – seems to rewrite Senate Bill 1108 by using the phrase “limited to” rather than “including” to describe what can be discussed in contract negotiations.
In top education news this past week:
In his State of the State address on Monday, Gov. Butch Otter listed jobs and education as his two top priorities, but by Tuesday, a closer look at his budget request showed that total funding for K-12 education appears to be set to decline for a fourth straight year, and that most new money in the general fund is designated for the new pay-for-performance and technology mandates passed last year.
The State Department of Education announced a draft plan this week to rank Idaho schools on the “five-star” system familiar in rating hotels, video games, and so on. The plan is part of the state’s application to receive a waiver from No Child Left Behind Requirements. Public comment on the plan is being taken through February 1.
Idaho’s public employee retirement system is strong and experienced its best growth in 25 years in fiscal year 2011, PERSI executive director Don Drum reported Thursday.
And this morning, Secretary of State Ben Ysursa affirmed to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee that three referendums on the November ballot will ask voters to vote yes if they like the new education laws and no “if you're against the legislation and do not like it and wish that it be repealed.”