House Passes First Education Reform Bill
The bill passed the Idaho House on a 48-22 vote, with nine Republicans joining Democrats in opposition. Supporters of the bill to limit the state teachers union touted the plan as a way to hand over more power to the locally elected school boards. But opponents condemned the legislation as a mean-spirited move to dismantle the union. The bill now goes to the Governor, who says he supports the reform plan. The House is expected to take up legislation later tomorrow to introduce merit pay. Both bills have passed the Idaho Senate and are part of Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's plan to overhaul K-12 education. The biggest piece of Luna's reform package remains stalled in the Senate. It would boost technology in the classroom, require online courses and bump up the minimum teacher pay while also increasing classroom sizes and cutting 770 teaching jobs.