Eye On Boise

House Ed Committee introduces bill to lift charter school cap

The House Education Committee has voted to introduce new legislation to remove the cap on formation of new charter schools each year, currently set at six, but rejected a move to send the new bill straight to the full House without a hearing. Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise, asked the sponsor, Rep. Cliff Bayer, R-Boise, "This is a pretty big issue and I would say not free from controversy. Why are we hearing this within days of adjournment?" Bayer said he thought the bill was "timely" with regard to "our overall global education reform and changes in direction."

Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, moved to send the bill directly to the House's 2nd Reading Calendar, rather than just introduce it, but her motion was killed on an overwhelming voice vote. "We need to have discussion on this," said Rep. Donna Pence, D-Gooding. Rep. Stephen Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, agreed, and said the bill should be looked at next year. "I think the charter school issue should get more discussion than the 15 minutes here that we've given it," he said. "I'd like to hear from some of the stakeholders, the charter school folks ... I don't have any problem with sending this to print, but I think at this time, given the lateness of the hour, I think we should not be too precipitous here."

Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow, said, "I'd like to talk to folks up in my district about this. ... There are policy issues here that the stakeholders really need to come together and have a full hearing on it - otherwise we're going to get a lot of criticism."

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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