School safety bill will be amended

Lawmakers are going to take another crack at a school safety bill introduced in the Senate last month.

The Senate Education Committee voted Tuesday to send Senate Bill 1133 to the floor for amendments.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, asked for amendments but said specific changes have yet to be written.

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Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian

As originally worded, the bill called on school districts to create their own school safety plans by partnering with local sheriffs and school board members.

Karen Echeverria, executive director of the Idaho School Boards Association, said her organization has yet to take a position because members have lingering questions about the bill’s definitions, and the manner in which crisis training would apply.

Matt McCarter, the Idaho State Department of Education’s Safe and Drug Free Schools coordinator, backed the bill as originally written.

A statewide policy needs to be in place, Hagedorn said, but he stressed that local school district and law enforcement officials are best positioned to create plans.

“When we first started the session, there was quite a large outcry for public safety in schools,” Hagedorn said.

Nobody showed up to oppose the bill Tuesday.

Salary grid restoration bill on hold

Also Tuesday, Senate Education delayed action on House Bill 205, which would reinstate funding on the salary grid for education credits educators earned in budget year 2011.

Sen. Dean Mortimer, R-Idaho Falls, asked for the bill to be held for one day after floating a plan to kill the bill and then direct the approximately $4 million cost into discretionary funds for district use.

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Sen. Dean Mortimer, R-Idaho Falls

Mortimer said he is concerned there is not enough money in the budget for small school districts that cannot pass bonds and levies to pay for insurance, utilities and other expenses.

That same bill sailed through the House Feb. 28, passing 66-2.

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