The state House of Representatives wrapped up early for the week to enjoy spring break, leaving a lot of unfinished business on the table.
Representatives gaveled out to enjoy a five-day weekend without doing much to bridge a nearly $900 million budget gap or give teachers a promised pay raise. They did pass some legislation tied to schools.
A watered down version of a bill that would have required schools to teach five days a week failed in the House of Representatives.
Many schools went to four-day school weeks because of budget issues. The watered down bill would have only required schools to submit their plans for a four-day school week to the state Board of Education, but it didn’t have the necessary votes to pass.
“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask them only, only to file a report. This doesn’t say they can’t do it or that they aren’t able to do it,” said bill author, Speaker Pro Tempore Harold Wright.
“Maybe we should only expect schools to have a plan when we have a plan. We’re required to have an education plan submitted by April first and this body can’t do that. We fail to do that every single year,” Rep. Shane Stone, D-District 89, said. “We can’t even subject ourselves to our own mandates and yet we’re going to schools and putting another mandate on them.”
The house did pass a bill that would create a committee to look into school spending.
“The goal here is to create a bipartisan non political commission that is able to review these things away from special interest groups, away from lobbyists, away from other bureaucrats,” Rep. Chad Caldwell, R-District 40, said.
That bill passed, 64 to 26.
The House reconvenes Monday. The Senate will be in session Wednesday.