The Senate Education Committee Thursday by voice vote unanimously approved legislation that would restore certain types of school funds that were removed with the defeat of ballot Propositions 1, 2 and 3 in the November 2012 election.
“I’ve received lots of emails from constituents telling me that we should not put back any funding that was taken away,” noted Sen. Steve Thayn, R-Emmett, during debate in the committee. “I think it’s safe to say that voters didn’t necessarily realize that they were repealing funds for some of these key programs when they voted last year.”
House Bill 65, which passed unanimously in the House in mid-February, would restore $30 million to Idaho public schools for the funding of dual enrollment course programs, the hiring of math and science teachers and the acquisition of certain types of classroom technology. Funding for these efforts had been allocated with the passage of the Students Come First education reform bills back in 2011.
Yet, despite the fact that local school districts throughout the state had been planning to receive the funds during the course of this, and subsequent school years, the laws that permitted the funding expenditures were struck down with the defeat of Propositions 1, 2 and 3 in last year’s election. Thus, the House passed the bill early in this year’s legislative session to restore the funding to local schools.
“I know there are lots of ins and outs with this legislation,” Sen. Branden Durst, D-Boise, stated. “But I think that for the good of our students and teachers, we need to move this forward.”
“The state’s largest school district is mostly in my backyard,” said Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian. “The good work of our chairman (Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, chairman of the Senate Education Committee) to restore this funding is not lost on me, nor the people of our school district.”
House Bill 65 now goes to the floor of the Senate for consideration.
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