Monday morning education news bulletins from the Statehouse:
• Math and science teachers. A permanent, $4.85 million-a-year plan to hire additional math and science teachers is on its way to the House. Senate Bill 1092 would restore teacher hiring dollars that are in limbo with the voter repeal of the Students Come First laws. Sen. Branden Durst, D-Boise, had sought to amend the bill in the Senate Education Committee last week, seeking to fund the jobs for one year only. On Monday, Durst supported the bill, and said he hopes it does not impede the work of Gov. Butch Otter’s education reform task force. The bill passed 34-0.
• Teacher salaries. Without debate or disagreement, the House Education Committee voted to “unfreeze” the teacher salary schedule, allow educators to receive raises for obtaining additional college credits. The salary schedule was frozen with the Students Come First repeal. State superintendent Tom Luna’s House Bill 205 would put $4 million into the salary grid for 2013-14. It now heads to the House floor.
• School bonds. School districts now can float 20-year bond issues. Should they have the authority to run 30-year bond issues? House Education introduced a bill to that effect. The proposal would bring schools’ bonding authority in line with cities and counties, and allow districts to keep their bond payments lower in a slow economy, said sponsor Rep. Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls.