School choice prospects still alive in Idaho, despite significant setback

(Idaho Freedom Foundation) The House Education Committee entertained presentations on three draft bills this morning, showing that efforts to give Idaho students at least some form of school choice are still alive, despite a significant setback yesterday on the Senate floor where 23 Senators voted to kill Senate Bill 1038, a universal education savings account bill.

Twelve conservative Senators voted to send that bill to the House, but 16 Republicans joined the Democrats to kill the bill. The bill would have created an education savings account (ESA) program that would have been open to all K-12 students and given each participating student about $6,000 annually to customize his or her education. It was modeled after Arizona’s highly successful ESA program, which has been empowering students for more than a decade.

One of the three draft bills presented by Sen. Lori Den Hartog and Rep. Wendy Horman to the House Education Committee this morning is worthy of a closer review. Their bill would expand the existing Empowering Parents micro-grant program to add a “tuition grant” component that would serve no more than 2,000 students. Participating students would receive $6,000 per year that could be used to hire a certified teacher or offset the costs of private school tuition.  (Read More)