Subcommittee approves bill to address numerous unfunded education mandates.

An education bill approved unanimously by a House budget subcommittee would address the state’s numerous unfunded mandates.

House Bill 1711, by state Rep. Todd Thomsen, would establish the School District Unfunded Mandate Relief Program to allow school districts to deregulate from unfunded or underfunded mandates. To do so, school boards would pass resolutions to deregulate from mandates and notify the state education department.

The measure would also require the state education department to publish a list of all mandates, showing the amount of funding necessary. Unfunded or underfunded mandates would be defined as mandates funded at 75 percent or below of the necessary funding level.

“State regulation of schools is a source of many local school budget problems,” said Thomsen, R-Ada. “Too often, state laws regarding education are one-size-fits-all and are especially penalizing when they are unfunded or underfunded. As a local control advocate, I believe this bill is an important first step to restoring balance to the relationship between local school boards and the state.”

House Bill 1711 was approved by the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Common Education. It is now available for a hearing by the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.