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CHEYENNE, Wyo. — School board officials are performing a voluntary public service and should not be compensated, a majority of Wyoming House of Representatives members concluded Thursday.

The House voted 29-27 to remove a provision added to Senate File 70, the “Education Accountability Act,” that required a study of compensation for K-12 school board members.

The provision was added to the bill Wednesday. On Thursday, Rep. Gregg Bilkre, R-Gillette, and others decided to take it out.

Among other things, the bill creates a Select Committee on Statewide Education Accountability to include four members each from the House and Senate, including the chairmen of the House and Senate education committees.

The new committee was to conduct the study of compensation for the 900 to 1,000 school board members in the state.

Rep. Matt Teeters, R-Lingle, chairman of the House Education Committee, wanted the study left in the bill.

It would have allowed the committee to see if student test scores could be improved if the quality of school boards improves, he said.

Rep. Patrick Goggles, D-Ethete, a former school board member, disagreed.

“To offer compensation dilutes the spirit of public service,” Goggles said.

“It would change the dynamic, the character” of school boards, he said.

Rep. Steve Harshman, R-Casper, who put the study in the bill on Wednesday, said he just wanted the committee to look at the issue and hear from more school board members.

The bill comes up for third and final House vote Friday.

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If it passes, it will be returned to the Senate for a vote on House changes.

The House changes are considerable and have led legislators to label the bill “The Omnibus Education Accountability Act.”

The House tacked onto the bill separate proposals that were in danger of dying Friday when debate on bills on General File shuts down for the session.

The 2011 legislative session is scheduled to end at midnight March 3.

The endangered proposals include a study of teacher merit pay and a student assessment measure.

The goal of the bill is to set up a statewide education accountability system including student performance measurements and targets.

The year-to-year changes link student performance and progress to teachers of record, the bill reads.

Schools that fail to reach the goal of “positive progress” would have to submit a report to the state Department of Education containing a strategy for improvement.

If a school fails to hit the target a second year, the department would designate a technical assistance team to develop turnaround strategies.

The bill also authorizes the select committee to develop methods to identify and assist underperforming schools, time schedules for improvement, and consequences for districts that fail to improve.

To assist the select committee, the bill creates an advisory council that will include educators, local and state school board members and representatives of the business community, the governor’s office and the state Department of Education.

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