(UPDATED, 4:25 p.m., with item from Senate Education Committee.)
Scholarship tax credits. Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, is back with a bill that would private tax credits to donors who contribute to private school scholarship accounts. Nonini touted the bill as a $5.8 million savings for the state and local districts, as more students would move from public schools to private schools. The House Revenue and Taxation Committee printed the bill Wednesday, over the objection of Democrats; Betsy Russell of the Spokane Spokesman-Review has more from the meeting. And here’s a link to the 2012 version of this bill.
Transportation. Idaho’s school transportation costs have dropped over the past couple of years, and Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde attributes this to a funding change that gives districts an incentive to save money. Idaho has moved $7.5 million of transportation money into a discretionary account, allowin districts to keep 60 percent of the savings. Senate Bill 1093 puts this language into state law. The Senate approved it, 34-0, and SB 1093 now goes to the House.
Teacher contracts. For the second straight day, there was a point of consensus between the Idaho School Boards Association and the Idaho Education Association — on a teacher contract bill. Today, the topic was House Bill 163, an IBSA bill allowing school districts to email contract offers to teachers, and requiring them to follow up via U.S. mail if there is no response. The Senate Education Committee endorsed the bill unanimously, and it heads to the full Senate; the House has already approved it.