BOISE -- The most controversial part of Superintendent Tom Luna's education reform proposal has stalled in committee. It's the bill that includes online course requirements for high schoolers, giving each student a laptop, and increasing class sizes. It is also the element that funds the reform package.
While that particular bill will not move out of the Senate Education Committee, Luna says a new bill is forthcoming. He says it will have a similar theme of bringing more technology to classrooms.
Committee members said there are too many questions with the SB 1113 to move it ahead.
I think it leaves us in a place where we realize, and the whole committee realizes that there isn't the support and there really isn't any financial solution in 1113 to pass it, that it really, it just can't go forward, Senator Nicole LeFavour (D-Boise) said.
We have to find some common ground to move this forward through the Senate, and I don't think we've found that common ground yet in either 1113 or the iterations that we've been working on to this point. Education Committee Chairman Senator John Goedde (R-Coeur d'Alene) said.
Luna is working is working with legislators to make a new bill that will likely be unveiled in the next two weeks.
As Senator Goedde said, the chairman, we're finding that sweet spot, and we've been working on that since the bill was originally sent back, and I'm confident that a version of this bill will come forward, Luna said.
As for what that new bill will look like, Luna says it's still going to be technology-focused, but the control school districts will have on some elements will be more clearly outlined.
I think you'll see this new bill will focus on making sure that the local control that maybe is in the first bill is better identified and any local control that was lacking will be found, Luna said.
Committee Chairman Senator John Goedde says there isn't a clear-cut solution at this point, but says financially, there has to be action.
Understand we are still going to have to cut the budget, and it's going to do something either to what teachers are paid or to class size. Goedde said.
Other ideas have come up on what to do with what's projected to be a large hole in the education budget in terms of cuts or revenue-generation.
What has to happen from here is that this committee needs to talk seriously about recommending a revenue increase to the revenue and taxation committee on the house side. We recommend cuts to the joint finance committee, we can recommend revenue to the revenue and taxation committee as well, LeFavour said.
Republicans, who hold the majority, have made it clear they don't want to look at tax increases.
Meantime, the other two bills that are part of Luna's reform plan packagehave moved to the House.