BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A legislative proposal could clear the way for Idaho's smallest school districts and charter schools to hire the spouses of their board members.

Rep. Marc Gibbs, a Republican lawmaker from Grace, said yesterday that smaller schools face problems when the only qualified applicant for a position is married to a board member.

A district or charter school that wants to hire a board member's spouse must have less than 1,200 students to qualify, and must first advertise the position for 60 days, or for 15 days if the vacancy crops up during the school year. While some on the House Education Board questioned the ethics of handing jobs to family members, Gibbs argued it could be the only way to fill needed positions in rural communities with tiny applicant pools.