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February07

Four-day board referral option falls

A bill that would have allowed school boards the opportunity to refer a four-day school week to district voters was defeated in committee.

 

Senate Education committee members voted 4-2 to defeat Senate Bill 112, which would have allowed school boards to refer the decision to change the number of school days in the week to district voters.

 

ASBSD supported the bill. At Delegate Assembly in December, member districts of the Association voted to support a resolution permitting a concept of the same ilk as the bill.

 

“It’s still a local control option for the board to use,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany testified in favor before the committee. “(Boards) don’t have the authority to do this today.”

 

Opponents of the bill argued the bill provided the board an unneeded option. The ability to refer the four-day school week to voters would have been the fourth decision up for public vote, including a tax opt-out, school start date and district border change.

 

An amendment to SB 112 would have required the district to cover the costs of the election and added a clause disallowing the board from acting on the outcome for a one-year period, honoring the will of the district voters.

 

Pogany noted the ability for school boards to willingly put the decision to a vote was deserved as it was a decision that “should be made with input from the community.”

 

A sentiment shared by bill sponsor Sen. Billie Sutton.

 

“This is a big enough issue in communities,” Sen. Sutton said. “This (bill) really seeks to find compromise.”

 

Sen. Sutton steadfastly pointed out the bill still maintained the status quo of local control.

 

(The bill) does not require the school board to do anything. It gives them the option,” Sen. Sutton said. “If the school board does not want to put this to a vote, they don’t have to.”

 

“They still have local control.”

 

For updates on legislative session, check the ASBSD BlogTwitter feed and Bill Tracker.

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