Questions on funding for higher education, the location of law schools, and public role models were aimed at Idaho State Board of Education appointee Emma Atchley of Ashton in her confirmation hearing before the Senate Education Committee Wednesday.
“I hope to be an advocate for all education,” Atchley said. “I am very worried about the state funding for education.” She said she’s also is concerned about funding reductions for K-12 public schools.
During her confirmation hearing, Sen. Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow, discussed concerns about the possibility moving law school classes from the University of Idaho in Moscow to Boise. The state board allowed UI to offer third-year law school classes in Boise, but rejected a proposal to open a $6 million law school campus in Boise. Schroeder said higher education strongly affects the local economy of the surrounding community. Senate Minority Leader Kate Kelly, D-Boise, said the Treasure Valley could use a law school and that she had to go out of state to get her law degree.
Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, asked Atchley to name two well-known people she admires. Atchley responded first with the late Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman. “His promotion of education and economic theory has always impressed me,” he said. Her second choice was former Sen. Larry Craig, who she said she knew personally. “I thought Sen. Craig did a wonderful job representing our state in Washington,” she said. “Some of the issues that surrounded his retirement were irrelevant to his service and I think it has cost our state.”
Atchley was appointed by the governor to the board in August. Her confirmation hearing was delayed in part because she was in Chile during the recent earthquake. The Senate Education Committee will vote on Atchley’s appointment at its next meeting.
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