Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, pulled a proposal to allow students to graduate high school early during debate on the issue Thursday. Fulcher is sponsoring the Mastery Advancement Pilot Program (MAPP), which would let students test out of classes or full years of instruction. Fulcher said he wanted to make sure that the six-year test project includes a sunset provision that would end the program if lawmakers don't take action in the future. He moved the MAPP legislation to the amending order to rewrite part of the legislation to include a sunset. If that amendment is approved and the Senate votes in favor of the MAPP, the proposal would return to the House, which passed the measure 61-7 on Feb. 25.
Fulcher said that the legislation's House sponsors, Reps. Branden Durst of Boise and Steven Thayn of Emmett, will write an amendment to the legislation to include a 2016 sunset date. "This is a six-year pilot, so we need to make good on that," Fulcher said. He said there were lingering concerns among that it didn't say anywhere in the proposal that the MAPP would end if lawmakers did nothing.
Durst said he and Thayn purposely left a 2016 deadline out of the MAPP legislation. "We didn't want to constrain the length of time that it could exist because we weren't sure exactly when the start date was going to be," he said. He said it could take a year for the State Board of Education to create the rules and procedures for the MAPP. Fulcher said he wants Durst and Thayn to assume the program will start this fall.
Before ending debate on the proposal, Fulcher spoke in favor of the MAPP. He said it would benefit gifted students, school districts, and taxpayers. All three could receive money from the savings that would result from students graduating early. “It’s kind of exciting to have the potential of win-win-win like that,” Fulcher said.
Sen. Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow, said he opposed the measure because the legislation is too vague. “Usually when I can’t figure out what a bill is up to, it’s up to no good," he said. "And I can’t figure out what this bill is up to ... There's too many unknowns in here."