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Compromise reached on ed legislation

House Education Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, says a bipartisan group has reached a compromise on legislation to suspend various state laws temporarily to allow cuts in Idaho's public schools next year. Nonini, who first proposed the controversial HB 117 - a bill that would have put every teacher in the state on one-year contracts, along with other sweeping and permanent changes - said, "117 needed to get out there originally to get the conversation started, and it did. We reached final agreement this morning." The new bill, likely to be introduced Monday, will be co-sponsored by Nonini, Senate Education Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene; House Speaker Lawerence Denney; Senate President Pro-tem Bob Geddes; the Idaho Education Association; the Idaho School Boards Association; and the Idaho Association of School Administrators, Nonini said.

"I think everyone understands the dire situation we're in financially," Nonini said. "Everyone just poured a ton of heart, soul, hours, blood and tears into it." He thanked Reps. Rich Wills, Mack Shirley, Donna Pence, and Liz Chavez, who comprised the bipartisan committee, along with the representatives of the education groups for their work. The new bill will focus on temporary, one-year changes for financial emergencies, and won't interfere with teacher contract rights.

Wills, who chaired the group, has a long background in conflict resolution as a state trooper and POST instructor, and in his own consulting business. He's an expert in "de-escalation tactics" and a "verbal judo" instructor, he said, along with other techniques designed to "redirect aggression and anger." Said Wills, "It is perfect for this building."

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Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.