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BOISE -- A revised version of the third part to the education reform plan was unanimously passed by the Senate State Affairs Committee this morning after only about five minutes of discussion.

The third bill was stalled in the Senate Education Committee for weeks. Instead of trying to make changes to the existing bill, Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna decided to draft a new one.

The passing of this bill by the Senate State Affairs Committee is just the beginning. It will now go to the Senate and House Education Committees.

Sen. Education Committee Chairman John Goedde says lawmakers do not plan to hear any more public testimony on the bill. He said previous public testimony had been considered when drafting the revised bill.

Goedde said the bill could be debated on the Senate floor as early as next Thursday.

Goedde helped to shape this legislation and said he considers the bill to be a compromise from the original bill.

The new bill will have no mandate for cutting teaching positions or increasing class sizes.

High school students will no longer be required to take online classes, and students will receive laptops over the next three years, instead of at the start of the upcoming school year.

Yesterday, Gov. Butch Otter signed two of the three education reform bills. Laws were passed to eliminate teacher job protections, restrict collective bargaining and introduce merit pay in Idaho.

Otter said he was committed to working with lawmakers on a third piece of the plan to overhaul K-12 public education in Idaho.

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