Committee kills private school scholarship bill

Legislative fireworks continued Tuesday when a Senate committee killed a bill designed to provide tax credits for individuals or companies who support private school scholarships.

House Bill 286 would have provided $10 million in tax credits to donors who contribute to “scholarship granting organizations” that award scholarships to K-12 students attending private schools.

Spokane Spokesman-Review reporter Betsy Z. Russell reported the bill failed on a 2-7 vote.

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Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Aene

Russell reported that sponsoring Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, estimated the bill could save $5.8 million through students leaving public schools. But Phil Homer of the Idaho Association of School Administrators opposed it.

“Every dollar that’s diverted from that revenue stream hurts the opportunity for us to take a portion of that dollar and apply it to the education of our students in the public schools,” Homer told committee members, according to Rusell’s article.

The bill had narrowly cleared the House March 20, sliding through 35-33.

The move was part of a dramatic afternoon within the Statehouse that saw the House dismantle a school security bill and replace it with language protecting Idaho gun owners. The Senate Education Committee also voted Tuesday to hold a bill that would tell schools districts how to spend $14 million that could be restored to the state salary pool.