Bill Description: House Bill 111 would close public schools to students on election days and create new government-recognized school-only holidays for students and school employees.
Does it increase government redistribution of wealth? Examples include the use of tax policy or other incentives to reward specific interest groups, businesses, politicians, or government employees with special favors or perks; transfer payments; and hiring additional government employees. Conversely, does it decrease government redistribution of wealth?
House Bill 111 amends Section 33-512, Idaho Code, dealing with the governance of public schools, to say, "There shall be no in-person student instruction on election days taking place on the third Tuesday in May of each year and on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November of each year. The board of trustees of each school district may determine the instruction or activities, if any, to be held on such days as long as such instruction or activities do not require or encourage students to be present in school facilities or on school grounds."
It further says that "if an election is scheduled to be held in March or August at a public school designated as a polling place, the board of trustees of such school district may determine the instruction and activities, if any, to be held on such election days at such schools."
It defines "activities" as "professional development, personnel training, and teacher in-service."
Any such "instruction or activities" are optional, however, and left up to local boards to determine. This means, in effect, that this bill would create new government-recognized school-only holidays for students and school employees.
Because these school-only holidays would be on election days, they could also serve to make it easier for school employees to engage in electioneering activities, which would effectively be subsidized by taxpayers.
Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?
Idahoans spend billions of dollars every year on public schools, and creating new school-only holidays will likely require additional regular school days to offset. Every additional school day costs taxpayers millions of dollars.
If a given district chooses to offer remote learning or alternative activities on election days, these activities would also impose costs on taxpayers while failing to provide normal in-person instruction to students.
There is a fair degree of irony in this bill. It calls for spending taxpayer dollars to hold an election for school boards, bonds, and levies, while also barring students from the very school meant to provide them with instruction.