BOISE — A Twin Falls lawmaker has been named chairman of the House Education Committee.
Rep. Lance Clow, a Republican who was previously mayor of Twin Falls, will now take the reins of the committee he has sat on since 2012, House leadership announced Friday morning. Clow is stepping into the position in a pivotal year for education in Idaho, as the state considers adopting a new formula to fund its schools.
“I think my time serving as mayor gives me a skill set for running meetings and hearings that other people may not have at this stage of their career,” Clow said. “I looked at mine and I thought, ‘I’m ready, I can do it.’”
The proposed new formula, which would base funding on enrollment rather than average daily attendance, is expected to be a top priority for the education committees this legislative session. Some Magic Valley school district superintendents have voiced concerns about the proposed formula, saying it could create “winners and losers” by taking money away from some districts and giving it to others.
Clow noted that there have been complaints about the old funding formula as well.
“You could argue there used to be winners and losers under the old formula,” Clow said. “The new formula is going to have some winners and losers, and we have to recognize there have to be some adjustments to keep the losers at a very minimum, to make sure what needs they have are well-preserved and move forward.”
Questions especially still remain about how the new formula could interact with Idaho’s five-year career ladder to boost teacher salaries, a relationship that wasn’t explicitly addressed in the latest draft from the Public School Funding Formula Interim Committee.
“The model recognizes the money for the career ladder, but it doesn’t necessarily have the legislation written yet to preserve the importance of funding education careers,” Clow said. “I want to make sure that stays in place, and I think everybody does.”
Three new House members from south-central Idaho also received their committee assignments Friday morning: Rep. Laurie Lickley, R-Jerome; Rep. Linda Wright Hartgen, R-Twin Falls; and Rep. Muffy Davis, D-Ketchum.
Lickley will serve on the Health & Welfare Committee, the Resources & Conservation Committee, and the Environment, Energy and Technology Committee.
Wright Hartgen will serve on the State Affairs Committee, the Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee, and the Environment, Energy and Technology Committee.
Davis will serve on the Health & Welfare Committee, the Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee, and the Transportation and Defense Committee.