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Eye On Boise

Thu., Feb. 24, 2011, 11:18 a.m.

Corder: ‘We destabilized our ed funding’

Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, told the Senate he attended a meeting in his district at which 250 people turned out to discuss the legislation. He heard teachers, high school students and others speak out against SB 1108. He even received a petition from 4th graders against the measure. "But what do 4th graders know, right?" he asked. "What do high school kids know?" He said he started to look into "what was broken ... what is the problem we're fixing with these pieces of legislation?" Corder said, "It appeared that some of us believe that the problem is with the union. ... Some believed the problems were student performance, and if we could get rid of the unions, if we could fire teachers, if we could do all these other things that we're trying to do, somehow student performance improves." Others thought there were problems with accountability, he said.

Corder said the state hasn't addressed "administrative dysfunction," which he said must be implicated in any failure to fire bad teachers now. Overall, he said, he concluded, "The problem we're really trying to solve is the cost of education." But, he said, "We don't even know what this is going to cost." He said when the Legislature eliminated the property tax levy for schools in 2006, "We destabilized our educational funding when we did that." Yet, he said, people are paying more in property taxes now - "because now we're forcing locals to pass supplemental levies, we're forcing them to do these things."

Corder said what the state should have done is identified the problems, and brought stakeholders together to find solutions to those. "I reject the idea that we have to do all this or none of it," he said. "I reject the idea that we have to do it today."

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Eye On Boise

Short takes and breaking news from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.