School financial emergency bill clears House panel

BOISE, Idaho (AP) A bill that removes barriers for cash-strapped school districts considering declaring a financial emergency is one step closer to becoming law.

The measure has already cleared the Senate, and on Thursday it sailed through the House Education Committee.

Idaho Education Association Executive Director Robin Nettinga said the proposal aims to make reopening teacher salary negotiations during tough budget years easier.

It would require school boards to show a 1.5 percent reduction in general funds or property tax revenue to trigger a renegotiation of salaries. Current law requires a 5 percent reduction.

Idaho Falls Republican Rep. Wendy Horman said the change is a common sense way to give districts options during years they face cuts or fail to secure supplemental levies.

It now heads to the full House for debate.