ISBA members to vote on funding and Blaine Amendment proposals at virtual convention

Idaho School Boards Association members will vote in November on 15 policy positions — including one calling to restore education funding cut by a state budget holdback.

School funding and budget cuts are just some of the resolutions that will drive a policy discussion heading into the 2021 legislative session. ISBA members will also consider a resolution addressing the so-called Blaine Amendment. The resolution calls for opposing vouchers, tax credits, scholarships or other tools that would be used to divert public tax dollars to private or parochial schools.

ISBA is moving its traditional in-person convention online Nov. 9-12 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, said Quinn Perry, ISBA’s policy and government affairs director.

“Obviously we had to move our convention to be virtual this year, but the business session will likely be very similar to how many of us have been connecting to meetings,” Perry said.

Quinn Perry

ISBA’s executive team will adopt any policy resolutions members approve during the convention, and push for those proposals for the next two years.

Discussion surrounding public tax dollars and the Blaine Amendment took on added significance earlier this year. In the case of Espinoza vs. Montana Department of Revenue, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that a Montana state scholarship program must be made available to students attending private schools, including religious schools.

Idaho’s Blaine Amendment prohibits using public money for religious entities and schools.

“It’s going to be an all-hands-on-deck approach ensuring public dollars are truly going to support public schools because Idaho has a constitutional obligation to ensure public schools are uniform and thorough,” Perry said.

Along with addressing the 5 percent, $99 million K-12 budget holdback, ISBA members will also consider a separate resolution calling for reclamation of placement on the career ladder salary system, which was frozen this year.

Several other proposals address longstanding Statehouse debates, and a few represent previous ISBA resolutions that have expired and are being brought back.

Other resolutions include:

  • Allowing for decisions regarding student hearings in executive session.
  • Amending state law to require that candidates on an interim certificate cannot be placed on a renewable contract until program requirements are met.
  • Amending Idaho law relating to denying enrollment of a student who is truant or “incorrigible.”
  • Amending Idaho school age law to allow for flexibility for school preparedness programs.
  • Reducing the supermajority on plant facilities levies.
  • Idaho social studies content standards.
  • Administrative leave with pay.
  • Personnel funding, use it or lose it.
  • Full funding of all-day kindergarten.
  • Reclamation of placement on the career ladder salary system.
  • Salaries for classified staff.
  • Establishing expectations for Idaho Public Charter School Commission and nonelected charter school authorizers.
  • Impact fees for public schools.

ISBA has more than 900 members and represents all 115 school districts and more than 60 charter schools. Voting is conducted via a weighted system reflecting student enrollment. Any resolution that receives a majority of votes will be adopted.

More information about all of the resolutions is available on the ISBA’s website.

Clark Corbin

About Clark Corbin

Reporter Clark Corbin has covered Idaho government and education for more than a decade. He’s followed every legislative session, gavel-to-gavel, since 2011. Clark is a co-host of the Extra Credit podcast with Kevin Richert published on Fridays. You can follow him on Twitter: @clarkcorbin. He can be reached by email at [email protected]

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