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Statehouse, Week Eight: a look ahead on the education beat

A few items to watch for as Week Eight begins at the Idaho Legislature.

School safety. The Senate Education Committee will get a first look at a school security proposal from Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian. On his Facebook page, Hagedorn said the bill would call for schools to have safety plans in place, but measures would be “left up to local managers to control based on available resources.” The proposal is not yet public — and won’t become public unless Senate Education decides to introduce the bill. That hearing is slated for 3 p.m. Monday.

Cursive writing. Also Monday, Senate Education has a hearing  scheduled on House Concurrent Resolution 3, which calls for teaching cursive handwriting in elementary schools. The proposal has already passed the House.

Charter schools. On Tuesday morning, the House Education Committee will hold a hearing on House Bill 206, the bill that would siphon $1.4 million to charter schools to offset facilities costs. The bill was introduced in committee last week.

Also on the charter schools front: On Monday, Boise Republican Sen. Chuck Winder will ask Senate Education to introduce a bill allowing public universities to authorize charters. (A more comprehensive charter schools bill is expect to extend chartering authority to universities and nonprofit groups, but that bill is not yet scheduled for introduction in House Education.)

Teacher salaries. On Monday, House Education will have a hearing on House Bill 205, which will “unfreeze” the state teacher salary grid, allowing teachers to get pay raises to reflect college credits. The Students Come First repeal froze the grid, putting some $4 million in jeopardy.

Math and science teachers. The full Senate could vote Monday on another bill driven by the Students Come First repeal: spending $4.85 million a year to beef up math and science teacher staffing. Like the teacher salary grid bill, the math and science proposal, Senate Bill 1092 has been proposed by state superintendent Tom Luna’s office. SB 1092 sits on the Senate’s third reading calendar, which means a vote could come as early as Monday.

Early retirement. Meanwhile, Senate Bill 1089 also looms on the Senate’s third reading calendar.  This would eliminate an early retirement incentive proposal for teachers — which was repealed through Students Come First, but has been reinstated with the voter repeal.

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger at Idaho Education News (idahoednews.org). Kevin is a former Statesman editorial page editor, with 27 year's experience in Idaho journalism.

Posted in The EDge