The Government Affairs Committee of one of Idaho’s biggest education lobbying groups, the Idaho School Boards Association, voted last week on its legislative priorities for the 2020 legislative session. On the list: protecting Idaho’s Common Core standards and changing the way neighborhoods swap school districts.
Each year, members of the ISBA (most every public charter and traditional public school in Idaho) convene for a conference where they craft the organization’s lobbying platforms. Honing those into a set of priorities falls to the group’s Government Affairs Committee, made up of board members and representatives of large and small districts across the state.
One of those priorities is defending Idaho’s Common Core standards against a possible attempt to remove them this year.
Legislators left the 2019 session without approving administrative rules (which govern things like Idaho’s education standards). That means that this year legislators get to review every single rule on the books. Some lawmakers, like House Education Committee member Dorothy Moon, have made it clear they’re interested in using the opportunity to remove the Common Core standards that Idaho adopted to guide education.
ISBA will fight that.
“It’s our goal to see that the content standards remain – at least for the time being – intact,” said Quinn Perry, Policy and Government Affairs Director for the ISBA.
The content standards were heavily vetted prior to implementation, Perry said, and removing the standards without a replacement could cause serious upheaval for districts.
Other 2020 ISBA priorities include:
- Continuing to work on a possible new school funding formula, an effort that stalled in the Statehouse last year.
- Updating Idaho’s “excision” code, which lets neighborhoods leave one school district for another. The ISBA voted earlier this year to lobby for a change in existing code, to involve more taxpayer input.
- Letting school board members discuss the sale of private property in executive session.
- Promoting a $25 increase in the reimbursement the state gives schools and districts for drivers education.
- Making sure no state resources go to private and parochial schools.
- Keeping local school districts in charge of whether guns are allowed on school property.
- Defending the Idaho Science Standards from changes during the administrative rules process.
- Keeping an eye on property tax reform “to ensure no shift in property taxes provides potential harm to school districts.”
This list is by no means exhaustive, Perry said, and ISBA’s work will adjust as education bills and issues are introduced.
A conservative financial year and a stalemate over administrative rules played a role in shaping ISBA’s priorities this year, Perry said.
“Tight budgets are absolutely at the forefront of our discussions,” she said. “A lot of our resolutions are related to funding, and we know that they are a big ask.”