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Divided Senate passes hearings limit bill for teacher firings

The Senate has voted down a motion from Sen. Les Bock, D-Boise, to send SB 1150 to the 14th Order for amendments. The bill deals with appeals to district court of teacher firings or suspendsions for conduct violating certification standards; the motion failed on a 7-27 vote; Sen. Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, urged senators to vote against the bill if they object to it, but not to send it to the amending order. Democratic senators argued that the bill is legally flawed, preventing evidence from being brought forward in court if it’s not permitted to be aired in an earlier school district hearing.

Sen. Jim Guthrie, R-McCammon, said as a former school board member, the bill concerned him. “I can see where that could put some additional burden on the school board … and also on the teacher,” he said, requiring both sides to come “armed to the teeth” to the school district hearing. “So you have those high costs twice.”

Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, noted that the bill was proposed by the Idaho School Boards Association. “If the school boards association thought this was a problem, they would not have brought the legislation,” Goedde told the Senate. Sen. Todd Lakey, R-Nampa, said school boards would have their attorneys present for such hearings. “The school board should be presented with the fullest case at the local level for them to be able to make the best decision,” he said. “This bill is really about the appropriate deference that should be given to the local school board.” The bill then passed the Senate on a 22-12 vote, with bipartisan opposition, and now heads to the House side.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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