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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

No answer today on fate of school reform bills

After huddling for 20 minutes in the senate president pro-tem's office, Senate GOP leaders and Senate Education Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, emerged without any decision as to the next step on the school reform bills, and headed off to a meeting in the governor's office. "We're not going to know today," said Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls. Options include pulling one or more of the controversial school reform bills back to committee, introducing new versions to replace them, or amending the bills in the Senate. After a Senate majority caucus today on the issue, senators were asked to let their leaders know what they want changed in the bills; Davis told the Idaho Press Club today that proposed increases in class sizes are among senators' concerns.

The reform bills call for increasing class sizes in grades 4-12 and eliminating 770 teaching jobs in the next two years, to save millions that would be funneled into technology upgrades, a teacher pay-for-performance plan and more. Though they cleared a Senate committee last week, the three bills currently are stalled on the Senate's 3rd reading calendar as senators debate what to do. Asked how other senators have been reacting to concerns he's raised and other issues with the bills, an exhausted Goedde, who's been at the Capitol today since just after 4 a.m., said, "It's been an interesting discussion."

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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