Senate Education Committee Puts Brakes on Luna's Plan to Increase Class Size

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The most controversial piece of Tom Luna's proposal to sweep Idaho classrooms with reform hit a bump in the road this afternoon. The Senate Education Committee got nowhere in an attempt to advance Senate Bill 1113, which would increase class size, eliminate teaching positions and require online learning.

"I don't see any effort to move 1113 forward at this point," said committee Republican Chairman John Goedde of Coeur d'Alene. Goedde suggested a special task force to consider the committee's direction.

Co-Chair Sen. John Mortimer, an Idaho Falls Republican, said K-12 education faces a significant funding shortfall.

"We're looking at a $62 million hole," said Mortimer. "And that's our starting point. Unless there are miracles, we're looking at budget reductions. It's tough."

"It's tough for everybody," responded Robin Nettinga of the Idaho Education Association.

Sen. Nicole LeFavour of Boise, one of only two Democrats on the committee, said lawmakers should listen to the rising chorus of protests to Luna's proposed plans.

"People from across Idaho have been very clear. They're telling us not to increase class sizes," said LeFavour. "I think we have a serious obligation to look at other alternatives for funding, because we do have them."

The committee adjourned with no action and none in sight.