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Eye On Boise archive for Jan. 21, 2011

FRIDAY, JAN. 21, 2011

Superintendent of Public Schools Tom Luna, center, listens to testimony on Friday Jan 21, 2011 before the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee at the Idaho Statehouse in Boise. Luna has proposed sweeping changes to Idaho's schools. (Chris Butler / AP Photo/Idaho Statesman)

The week that was...

On tonight's “Idaho Reports” on Idaho Public TV, I join host Thanh Tan, Jim Weatherby, Kevin Richert and David Adler to discuss the events of the week, including the historic public hearing that JFAC held today on public school funding, drawing a huge outpouring of…

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Pearce plans 'nullification' bill 

Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, plans to introduce legislation early next week to "nullify" the federal health care reform law, a move that's drawing favor among tea party adherents who believe the federal government is out of control. Gov. Butch Otter also raised the idea…

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Sen. Dean Cameron, left, and Rep. Maxine Bell, right, talk with reporters after an unprecedented four-hour public hearing Friday on school funding. Bell termed the hearing 'extremely successful.' (Betsy Russell)

Bell: hearing was 'extremely successful' 

Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, the JFAC co-chair who ran today's unprecedented, four-hour public hearing on school funding, deemed it "extremely successful." She said, "When people will travel and sit quietly and wait a turn that may never come..." She said there were only roughly three…

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Wood: 'They don't support this plan'

Sherri Wood, president of the Idaho Education Association, said the message she took from today's four-hour public hearing on school funding was, "They are not supportive of this plan - even the people that kind of lean to support had a lot of questions." She…

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Matt Barkley, a band director from Post Falls, said it was worth the 400-mile trip to testify at Friday's public school funding hearing. (Betsy Russell)

Worth the 400-mile trip to testify... 

After traveling 400 miles from Post Falls to testify at today's public school funding hearing, Matt Barkley, a school band director, said the trip was worth it. "I was a little nervous with the large crowds here," he said. "I came down at 6 in…

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Alexa Bell of Kuna testifies to lawmakers Friday in favor of online education; she's a student at the Idaho Virtual Academy online charter school. (Betsy Russell)

Testimony: 'Can work at your own pace'

Lawmakers called up two children from Kuna who attend the Idaho Virtual Academy, an online charter school, and spoke in favor of online education. Fifth grader Wyatt Bell said he's been learning online since kindergarten, and because his dad is off on Wednesdays, he can…

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Testimony: 'A risky experiment'

Among the final speakers, Todd Wells of the Castleford school district spoke in support of the Luna reform plan; teacher Darin Gonzalez of Kimberly said there's lots of technology in use in his school now; a mom from Idaho Falls, Rebecca Bohman, spoke in favor…

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Testimony: 'We've won race to bottom'

Terry Soule, a parent and teacher from Caldwell, told lawmakers, "We are already an extremely cost-effective state. We've won that race to the bottom. But our teachers are performing well for the students in the classroom." He said, "We need to find the money and…

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Testimony: 'My children will fall thru cracks'

Lynnette Aldridge of Oldtown, a mother of four including a child with developmental delays, said, "Providing all our students with online learning sounds great on paper, but my children will fall through the cracks - they will not succeed." Her high-school-age daughter tried online classes…

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Kaitlyn Howell, a high school student from Caldwell, testifies at the school funding hearing that she's taken three online classes, and they were "very ineffective." (Betsy Russell)

Student: Online classes 'not very effective'

Kaitlin Howell, a high school student from Caldwell, said she took three online classes and found them "something completely different from normal teaching." She said "Learning is all self-taught and not very effective. One of the worst things that could be done to the school…

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'Time it takes to soft-boil an egg'

Pat Bollar, a teacher from Rupert, got a warm laugh from the crowd with her closing comment: "Three minutes is the time it takes to soft-boil an egg, not express opinions from a lifetime in teaching." That's all the time people are being allotted to…

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Testimony: 'We need to adapt' 

Lorna Finman of Post Falls told lawmakers, "I am here today to wholeheartedly support Supt. Tom Luna's plan for students come first in Idaho. ... We need to adapt and increase our level of education quality like never before if we are to adapt." Finman,…

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'We have to make the cuts - it's simple math'

Danielle Ahrens, who spoke on behalf of Bonner and Boundary county Republicans and the Bonner County Republican Women, told lawmakers, "I've been PTA president twice and I do understand the value of education. But these are hard times." She said she backs Supt. Luna's reform…

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Testimony: 'Hold everyone accountable'

Matt Barkley, band director at Post Falls High School, testified, "Budget cuts from last year's session have hit hard in the music community." Some Idaho school districts have lost their entire music programs, he told lawmakers. "I implore you to not pass the education budget…

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Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.