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Idaho House narrowly OKs rural schools network bill

A bill backed by Idaho’s top schools chief to develop a new rural schools network has narrowly survived the House floor.

House members debated at length Tuesday on a proposal to form a three-year pilot project in which rural schools would collaborate and share resources. The pilot project would be based in northern Idaho and cost $300,000 annually.

However, Republican Rep. Wendy Horman – who oversees writing the state’s education budget – says the bill will create an additional layer of bureaucracy.

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

HB 223 passed the House 37-33. It must now pass the Senate.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra attempted to pass a similar proposal last year, but the bill died in the Senate.

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