Senate hearing set on private school scholarship bill

The Senate Education Committee will take testimony on a controversial private school scholarship bill Wednesday.

But it’s unclear whether the committee will vote on House Bill 590 after the one-hour hearing.

HB 590 would create a private school scholarship, geared toward students in poverty or students with special needs. Proponents say the scholarship would provide options for parents of at-risk students. Critics say HB 590 would create a roundabout school voucher system.

Senate Education will take up HB 590 at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Statehouse’s Lincoln Auditorium. The meeting is limited to one hour; with the Senate likely to hold late-afternoon floor sessions this week, the committee is trying to keep its daily meetings to an hour.

Senate Education could vote on HB 590 on Wednesday, or at a later date.

On its Facebook page, the Idaho Education Association criticized the hearing plan. “This is a vastly inadequate amount of time for a bill of this magnitude.”

HB 590’s critics include nearly every leading statewide education group, the State Board of Education and state superintendent Sherri Ybarra. Nonetheless, the bill narrowly passed the House last week.

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