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Some Concerns About Facilities Funding Legislation Addressed by Trailer Bill

April 5, 2024

Legislation addressing key concerns around a recently approved plan to spend more $2 billion over the next decade on updates and repairs to Idaho public school buildings was unanimously approved by both houses of the Idaho Legislature this week.

House Bill 766 is a trailer bill to House Bill 521, which provides $150 million in new state spending annually for school facilities generated by the state’s purchase of a 10-year bond . House Bill 521 was widely welcomed by education stakeholders, including Idaho Education Association members, for taking on long-ignored school facilities needs. However, even its supporters also acknowledged the bill had shortcomings.


One key component of House Bill 766 removes any restrictions on school districts on a four-day school week to access the new facilities funding – a key challenge with House Bill 521 for IEA members and other stakeholders. Instead, schools must meet minimum instructional days or hours standards, set by the Idaho State Board of Education, to be eligible for the facilities funding.

More than 80 school districts around the state, a majority, currently employ a four-day school week, many of them rural districts. Many schools with significant facilities needs could have been left out under House Bill 521’s provisions.

The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Lance Clow (R-Twin Falls) and Rep. Julie Yamamoto (R-Caldwell), who both serve on the House Education Committee.

“IEA members deeply appreciate the work from House Bill 766’s sponsors to address concerns IEA members had with House Bill 521,” said Chris Parri, IEA’s political director “The solutions in this trailer bill go a long way to supporting rural schools’ ability to provide the type of school facilities every Idaho student deserves.”

In addition, House Bill 766:

  • Revises the process of appointing the executive officer of the State Board of Education, specifying that the governor will appoint this officer with the advice and consent of the Senate
  • Ensures any district harmed by House Bill 521’s elimination School District Facilities Fund will be eligible for funding from the School Modernization Facilities Fund, which is to be funded by the legislation’s bond
  • Details the financial support mechanisms for public charter schools and creates procedures for renewing charters of public charter schools.


Both House Bill 521 and House Bill 766 await the signature of Gov. Brad Little, who was a primary supporter of both bills. He is expected to sign them into law.

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