Idaho Lawmakers Consider Governor's Proposals Around Education

Jan 9, 2018

In Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter’s final State of the State address Monday, education loomed large. One of his proposals is to hire a chief education officer for public colleges and universities.

Otter says the CEO will bring cost savings that can be funneled into scholarships and other programs for students.

As Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, Sen. Dean Mortimer (R-Idaho Falls) says he will look closely at the governor’s recommendation this session.

“I think it’s important that we have good collaboration between our universities," says Mortimer. "I think the verdict is still out about how that happens; whether that’s a commission or a CEO or some other type of an organizational change.”

Otter also proposed funding raises for public school teachers and staff for a fourth straight year. Mortimer says this focus over the years has paid off. 

“The career ladder has really put emphasis on how important we feel teachers are and how important that is for us. I think we need to continue work on our students and our parents and our teachers collaborating together. And making sure that we have that learning environment for our students.”

Education Committee Vice-Chair Sen. Steven Thayn (R-Emmett) agrees, and acknowledges Gov. Otter’s leadership in education.

“I think he should be applauded for the work that he’s done," Thayn says, "and now we need to see what that future looks like in collaboration with the wonderful teachers we have and the administrators.”

Thayn says more work needs to be done, though. He wants to expand Mastery Education programs so more students can progress at their own speed.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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