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Idaho House spikes rural schools network bill

Backpacks in an elementary school hall.

Backpacks in an elementary school hall. The Idaho Legislature on March 7 blocked a plan to form a project in which rural schools would collaborate and share resources. File photo.

A bill backed by Idaho’s top schools chief to develop a new rural schools network has once again failed to clear the Legislature.

For the third year in a row, state lawmakers on March 7 blocked a proposal to form a three-year pilot project in which rural schools would collaborate and share resources. The pilot project would cost $300,000 annually, which would come out of the state superintendent’s office.

Republican Rep. Wendy Horman — who oversees writing the state’s education budget — reiterated her prior concerns that the bill created an additional layer of bureaucracy.

Republican Rep. Paul Amador, the bill’s sponsor, countered the legislation will help schools run more efficiently.

Ultimately, House members voted 48-20 to block the bill from moving forward.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra has unsuccessfully attempted to pass similar proposals since taking over the office in 2015.

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