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Eye On Boise

Five new ed reform bills proposed, but class size hikes, teacher cuts remain

Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, has scheduled five new bills for introduction at his committee hearing this afternoon to replace SB 1068 and 1069, state schools Supt. Tom Luna's proposed school reform package. However, Goedde's committee, which meets at 3 p.m. today, also has three other bill introductions on its agenda, along with "in-depth review" of both existing reform bills, SB 1068 and SB 1069; and the Senate is scheduled to go back into session at 4:30 this afternoon due to today's deadline for introduction of legislation by non-privileged committees.

Goedde said his committee may simply introduce the new Luna bills in a single motion; or it may hold off. "I have been given some discretion from leadership" to go past that bill-introduction deadline, Goedde said today. "They will allow that."

Goedde, in a memo today addressed to his committee and education stakeholders, outlined the changes from the two reform bills contained in the five new bills; they're mostly minor, but would include an adjustment to the "fractional ADA" proposal under which a portion of school districts' funding would be siphoned away after the district's budget is set and directed to online course providers; a reduction in the requirement for high-school students to take online course from six courses to four; more flexibility for school districts to decide what year students should be given laptop computers, rather than requiring them to go to all 9th graders; and elimination of the clause requiring that students be given ownership of the laptops when they graduate. There's no mention of any changes to the plan to fund the entire proposal by raising class sizes and eliminating teaching positions, the move that drew the most negative testimony over four days of public hearings last week. You can read Goedde's memo here.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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