It will be at least a month before the Legislature’s newly formed interim education committee gets down to business.
Sen. John Goedde, a Coeur d’Alene Republican, said he still needs to meet with Rep. Reed DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, to flesh out when and where the 10-member committee charged with improving K-12 education in Idaho will meet.
“I don’t anticipate we will get started in June; it will be July or August before we have our first meeting,” Goedde said. “We need to determine how many meetings we will have and whether they will be conducted in Boise or around the state.”
The Legislative Council on May 30 unanimously approved appointments to the committee, which were made by Speaker Scott Bedke and Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill.
Goedde, who heads up the Senate Education Committee, and DeMordaunt, who leads the House Education Committee, also will lead the interim committee.
Once the new committee convenes, labor and collective bargaining issues – including elements of the defeated Proposition 1 laws that were revived this year – are expected to become a top priority.
Goedde echoed other lawmakers in saying that the new interim committee will have a broader focus and more discretion than the Governor’s Task Force for Improving Education – of which Goedde and DeMordaunt also are members.
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“One of the things that’s outside the scope of the task force are labor issues,” Goedde said. “The interim committee will have to address those with the realization that labor negotiations are done at the local school district level. But, from a broad sense, we can engage there.”
Goedde also hinted at other education issues he thinks the group should tackle, but said he would wait on announcing specifics until ensuring he and DeMordaunt are on the same page.
At this point, Goedde said he and DeMordaunt plan to participate in a conference call some time during the week of June 17 to outline the committee’s structure and format. From there, agendas could materialize quickly.
Eight other lawmakers will work alongside Goedde and DeMordaunt in the interim committee, including:
- Sen. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett.
- Sen. Jim Patrick, R-Twin Falls.
- Sen. Fred Martin, R-Boise.
- Sen. Branden Durst, D-Boise.
- Rep. Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls.
- Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale.
- Rep. Julie VanOrden, R-Pingree.
- Rep. Holli Woodings, D-Boise.
Goedde said he is pleased with the appointments to the group and knows everyone there except Woodings, a first-term Democrat.
“We’ve got good representation on the committee,” he said.
When the interim committee was announced, Bedke said there would be no time constraints or deadlines placed on the panel. He also told Idaho Education News he would not meddle with how DeMordaunt and Goedde plan to structure things and proceed.
“I have got a lot of confidence in Rep. DeMordaunt and Sen. Goedde – this is not their first rodeo and they understand the importance of this,” Bedke said. “The chairs will, obviously, control their own agenda.”
Despite the lack of deadline pressure, Goedde said his initial hope is to present some recommendations to the Legislature next year.
“My understanding is it’s going to be pretty wide open,” Goedde said. “We are going to have the authority to decide how we are going to conduct this work and what our goal is going to be, whether that be a report or legislation or some combination thereof.”