Printed on: April 02, 2013

Another task force to study ed issues

By Christina Lords

BOISE -- An interim education committee entirely comprised of legislators has been approved to examine problems plaguing education in the Gem State -- including issues related to collective bargaining.

Members of the Senate approved a resolution Monday to establish a committee to study how to improve and strengthen Idaho's education system. The House approved the committee in March.

The interim committee will work separately from Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's already-established 30-member task force on the subject.

Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, said one significant difference between the task force and the committee will be the lawmakers' ability to look into more efficient teacher contract negotiations throughout the state.

Otter said the task force will not study that particular topic.

"You all know that the governor appointed a task force from the executive branch side to take a look at those things that were germane to the education reform outside of the collective bargaining arena," Goedde said. "This interim committee would not be restricted to not taking a look at collective bargaining. My guess is that would be one of the focuses of the interim committee."

Legislators will be appointed to the interim committee by pro tempore of the Senate Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, and Speaker of the House Scott Bedke, R-Oakley.

"It is incumbent upon the Legislature to help move Idaho's K-12 education forward for our students, our educators and Idaho's businesses, colleges and universities," the resolution states.

The resolution requires the interim committee to report its findings to lawmakers in 2014.

The governor's task force will organize public forums throughout the state in April, including one at 6:30 p.m. April 22 in Idaho Falls.

Otter directed his task force to form legislation, if deemed necessary, for the 2014 session after voters repealed Propositions 1, 2 and 3 in November.