Last time around, it took lawsuits to force Idaho to rewrite its school funding formula.
Then it took a ton of new money to seal the deal. The spending increase was huge — and today, it would take more than $350 million to match it.
That was 1994.
Now, fast forward to 2016.
Key legislators are planning to take a run at rewriting Idaho’s school funding formula, a complex and delicate math equation that parcels out dollars to 115 school districts and 47 charter schools. They want the new formula to line up with the 2016 classroom — where students are more mobile and classes are delivered on high-tech platforms.
The committee isn’t set, but the prospective membership includes some of the Legislature’s heavy hitters on education topics. These lawmakers have no clear deadline — but a clear picture of the enormity of the task ahead. There are only so many dollars to spread around. Revamping the formula could be as controversial as it is complex.
To better understand the political landscape, and the potential landmines, let’s look back. And look ahead.