Presidents’ Day week always feels like a midpoint in the Idaho Legislature session, as budget writers get busy and lawmakers scramble to submit bills into the privileged committees that can still hear them. Education was mostly out of the spotlight again this week, but several bills moved forward.
H481, which lifts charter-school caps, was passed by the House Education Committee despite opposition from the Idaho Education Association, the Idaho School Boards Association and the Idaho Association of School Administrators. It is now before the full House.
H564, the bill by Rep. JoAn Wood (R-Rigby) that makes changes to a law regarding employee records and Professional Standards Commission investigations, was passed today out of the House amending order with only one amendment, brought by Rep Pete Nielsen (R-Mountain Home). The amendment would delete a small section of proposed language to assure that employees accused of verbal, physical, or sexual misconduct will not be responsible for proving the allegations are false or untruthful. The IEA had attempted to introduce several other amendments, but they were not considered today. The bill will now be considered by the full House.
H534, which amends last year’s S1110 to allow teachers with less than three years of experience to qualify for leadership bonuses, sailed through the House on a 68-0 vote Thursday. It now goes to the Senate Education Committee.
Several major education bills are up for consideration at the Idaho Legislature next week. On Monday, the Senate Education Committee will hear S1331, the proposal from Sen. Dean Cameron (R-Rupert) to remove the shifts of salary-based apportionment to fund the technology and pay-for-performance mandates from State Superintendent Tom Luna’s 2011 laws. The meeting starts at 3 p.m. in Room WW55. Also Monday, Senate Ed will finish its discussion on H426, the “8-in-6” bill.
On Tuesday, the committee returns to S1297, the bill that puts new limits on Education Support Professionals’ rights to file a grievance. Chair Sen. John Goedde (R-Coeur d’Alene) sought an attorney general’s opinion on the bill last week after testimony by the Idaho Education Association and several ESP members.
Meanwhile in the House Education Committee, H579 is up first when the panel meets at 8:30 Monday morning in Room EW41. This bill would extend the rights of administrators and teachers to come out of retirement without sacrificing benefits earned through the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho.
Monday’s House Ed agenda also includes two proposals from the State Department of Education: one “Revising Provisions Relating to the Adoption of Curricular Materials, Online Courses and Fees” and another “Revising Provisions Relating to Criminal History Check Fees; Providing Employee Email Addresses to the SDE.” Rep. Mack Shirley (R-Rexburg) has a proposed bill on “Providing Average Daily Attendance Funding Protection to School Districts.”
P.S. When the Idaho Legislature is in session, it's easy to forget that important education bills are under consideration in the U.S. Congress, too. Here's a recap of some pending legislation in the nation's capital.