Dominated by newbies, House Education Committee begins wrestling with repeal of 'Luna Laws'

With nine freshmen on his 16-member panel, House Education Committee Chairman Reed DeMordaunt began their initiation with what some might liken to the Legislature's version of frat house hazing -- a review of the budget impacts of voter repeal of Propositions 1, 2 and 3 in November.

At the close of a 75-minute session with a top budget analyst, DeMordaunt surveyed his committee. "Alright," he said, "I'll assume you all understand this perfectly," bringing laughter from the committee.

More seriously, said DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, "I think it's important for this committee to understand the consequences of the citizens actions on those referendums."

DeMordaunt is himself a new chairman, one of seven new leaders of the House's 14 standing committees. DeMordaunt, a second-term lawmaker, is beginning his third session.

DeMordaunt invited Paul Headlee, the Legislature's budget analyst for public schools, to outline the impacts of repeal and three major options for the 2013 session. He also distributed a sheet prepared by the State Department of Education which outlines the impacts on Idaho's 115 school districts.

In short, lawmakers have to decide whether to reappropriate about $31 million in fiscal 2013, which ends June 30, or simply let it remain in the kitty until year's end and be transferred to the savings account for K-12 education, the Public Education Stabilization Fund.

"All of these numbers we need to have a discussion about," DeMordaunt said. "We're not going to have that discussion today."

DeMordaunt said he plans to have the committee make a recommendation to the Joint Finance-Appropriation Committee, which will decide the matter. If lawmakers seek to restore some spending, they aim to act swiftly because the next regular payment made to school districts is scheduled for Feb. 15.

"I want to get the information out there so they see the numbers, the impacts on their specific districts and have the opportunity to find out how some of the districts are feeling about this," DeMordaunt said.

DeMordaunt said hasn't yet set a date for the committee to discuss a recommendation, but said, "You'll hear it well before the 15th."

The largest appropriation removed by voters was about $25 million for "use it or lose it" funds, which allowed districts to hire fewer teachers under a state formula and redirect the money for other purposes. Other possible targets for reappropriation include money to hire math and science teachers, adjustments to teacher pay, and the repealed one-to-one laptop program.

Headlee outlined three major options. First, take no action, which would direct the $31 million to savings. Second, reappropriate the funds. Third, direct the spending to programs and agencies outside K-12 schools, which account for about 47 percent of statewide general fund spending.

Redirecting the money to other programs, however, would require a two-thirds vote on JFAC to approve a "negative supplemental." That prospect is considered a long shot, as Democrats and GOP moderates would likely unite in opposing such a shift.

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Freshman Legislators, Catch the falling flag.

Freshman Legislators,

Catch the falling flag. You make a difference in everything you do.

How much money did Nonini take from the powerful For-profit education lobbyists to deep six the excellent Cronin legislation that would have protected Idaho Citizens from bad actors in the troubled For-profit education industry? The For-profit education industry is flush with Federal dollars (e.g. Federal Student Loans and Grants) and granted sweetheart tax deals so billionaire owners can bank more taxpayer dollars at taxpayer expense. .

Jack Abramoff: "Fire up the jet baby, we're going to El Paso!!" Mike Scanlon: "I want all their MONEY!!!" Email interchange between Jack Abramoff and Mike Scanlon, February 6, 2002

Curious, Sundevil, inasmuch

Curious, Sundevil, inasmuch as you reside outside the state of Idaho what's your beef in what happens here inasmuch as how does it affect you? You seem to be quite full of comments of how to run Idaho and yet don't live here.

Probably have lived here longer than you...

Hi Roses4U,
Probably have lived here longer than you... I remember when Boise's population was 20 to 30,000, remember fondly sound leadership in Idaho that made us proud. Batt, Smylie, Andrus, Park and more.

Many Idaho Citizens may feel poorly served by our recent “all hat; no cattle” leaders. Many Idaho Republicans also feel betrayed.

Sun, maybe got me beat as

Sun, maybe got me beat as far as Boise population but not by Idaho residency. On second thought, you haven't got me beat by residency re Boise; try early 70s. Yet, you have posted you reside in Az; evidently a part-timer now?

Agree, many citizens are betrayed by the Idaho Repubs; count me as one of them in the past few years.

probably a fat finger error.....

Hi Roses4U,
Probably a fat finger error. when I posted links to articles in the Arizona Republic and Salt Lake City Tribune about how western Republicans are behaving in a way that westerners no longer need to look to California or Chicago politics for a good laugh.

Too poor to afford the back and forth to enjoy an Idaho Summer and an Arizona Winter.

DeMordaunt is almost comical in his statements...

He was one of the more egregious in disrespecting the stakeholders' concerns the first time around...
His zealous efforts to push this through and his own public comments took zero regard for those parents, teachers,
and voters in general who tried to provide input to these failed laws. Difficult to for any of these legislators to
present any credibility on the topic; yet throw out some slick statements with the appearances of concern for school
districts' needs, and all is good, right?

And yet, diablo, he was

And yet, diablo, he was re-elected. Interesting that he seems to represent the concerns of his district voters.

Not on this topic...

Yes, western Ada County is a very conservative region, and no way-no how does a 'D' stand much of a chance...
However, the constituents in his district resoundingly rejected the laws he unabashedly promoted.
Didn't take much consideration of "representing the concerns of his district voters" on it. He had an agenda,
like many of the legislators who pushed through the laws, thinking they knew best...