House Education Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, told the House Ways & Means Committee just now, “I think we can all agree with this, that education is going the way of virtuals.” HB 303, which sought to fund virtual, or online education, just like funding for children who are present in class in public schools, was amended in the Senate with the addition of a two-year expiration on the move. Nonini presented legislation this morning to do away with that expiration. He said schools don’t want to move into virtual education if they’ll be cut off in the short term. House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, said House members have visited with the Senate about the issue. “We’ve visited with them and they know this is coming,” he said. “They’re having some of the same calls and the same concerns from their superintendents.” HB 303, which is pending in the Senate, has been amended twice and can’t be amended again, he said.
House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, asked about a study of virtual education, and Nonini said he, Senate Education Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, and state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna have signed a letter asking the Northwest Regional Educational Lab to study the issue. “So we hope we will have some data … moving forward with these virtual charter schools,” Nonini said. The Ways & Means Committee then voted to send the new bill to the House’s 2nd Reading calendar.