News and notes from Wednesday

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News and notes from Wednesday

Remediation bill reconsidered


In a surprise move that opened up this morning’s (Wednesday) House Education committee meeting, Rep. Scott Ecklund asked for reconsideration of an amended version of House Bill 1166 and members obliged.


At Monday’s (Feb. 4) committee meeting, members deferred HB 1166, which would reward teachers in school districts with bonuses based on the percentage of graduates not taking remediation courses upon entering higher education, to the 41st Legislative Day, but voted 11-4 to take up discussion again.


Ecklund, who said the bill was “initially flawed” in its first draft, introduced an amendment drawn up by the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Lee Qualm, which would make the bonuses for teachers equal in dollar amount for all school districts. The committee did not hear public testimony or discussion on the amendment.


The bill calls for up to $1 million in money be taken from the general fund for the rewards, which are not funded in an ongoing fashion. A concept committee member Rep. Paula Hawks said failed to meet the salary concerns for the state’s teachers.


“We need to find a way to fund (teachers) appropriately year-to-year,” Hawks said.


The committee voted 9-6 to pass the bill on to the House Appropriations committee.


CTE funding bill continues on


Committee members voted 9-6 to refer House Bill 1172 to the House Appropriations committee.


HB 1172 calls for the appropriation of $1.5 million from the general fund in the form of one-time dollars for school districts to use on career and technical education courses.  Bill sponsor Rep. Herman Otten testified that he does not believe the one-time dollars are “adequate” for programs but he intends to seek ongoing funding for CTE classes.


“The schools have made the choice to take the funds away from these programs,” Otten said.


Rep. Julie Bartling said the one-time funding may not be the answer for the CTE programs.


“There may not be the funding available (in the future) to continue the programs,” Bartling said.


Insurance and pension levy bill amended


Members of the House of Representatives passed an amended version of House Bill 1239 on a 53-17 vote on Wednesday.


HB 1239 would authorize school districts to implement certain tax levies at 30 cents per thousand dollars of taxable valuation for pension and health insurance funding purposes.


For updates on these pieces of legislation, and others, check the ASBSD blog and bill tracker.

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