Idaho Senate approves private education contracts in which business absorbs risk (AP)

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Senate has passed a plan to let the state's education department enter contracts with private companies for education programs, and then only pay after the program has been proven to work.

Republican Sen. Bob Nonini from Coeur d'Alene, who sponsored the "Pay for Success" bill, told lawmakers Wednesday that the private companies hold all the risk.

Usually, the state needs to use its own dollars to fund pilot programs.

But Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis from Idaho Falls says that the bill's constitutionality may be challenged in the courts down the road. Idaho's constitution says that the state's education system must be public and uniform.

An independent evaluator would decide if the program has met its goals under the contract. The bill has already passed the House 58-9.