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Governor signs education overhaul

SALMON | Idaho’s governor signed into law Friday the final piece of a controversial Republican overhaul of education in the state, as teachers and their allies mobilized to fight the measures.

Idaho is one of several U.S. states in which public-sector workers are battling Republican leaders’ drive to curb public employee unions.

The bill signed by Republican Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter forces school districts to equip high schools with mobile computing devices and potentially shifts funds to technology from teacher pay.

It also could lead to the layoffs of some teachers and certain positions going unfilled, officials said.

The measure was the last of three Republican-backed education bills that Mr. Otter signed in recent weeks.

The other two bills ended tenure for new teachers, instituted merit pay and removed discussions of workload and class size from contract negotiations for the 12,000 teachers represented by the Idaho Education Association.

Attention has focused on a high-profile battle in Wisconsin over a law limiting public-sector unions. Proposals to limit collective bargaining are also advancing in New Hampshire and Oklahoma, and bills targeting teachers unions are under consideration in Indiana and Tennessee.