Final Education Bill On Gov. Otter’s Desk
Lawmakers have sent the final piece of a plan to reform Idaho’s public schools to the governor’s desk, following three months of fierce debate that dominated the 2011 session. The Idaho House voted 44-26 on Friday to pass final piece of the reform package authored by schools chief Tom Luna, with backing from Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter. The legislation shifts money in the public schools budget from salaries to fund new technology, phasing in laptops for teachers and eventually students, and pay-for-performance. It also increases the minimum teacher salary to $30,000. School trustees, administrators and the teachers union oppose the plan. Rep. Linden Bateman, of Idaho Falls, was among 13 Republicans who joined Democrats in opposition. Bateman said he couldn’t vote for the bill because it lacked educator support.