Education

Idaho Ed News

Ten years ago today, Jim Risch was a governor in a hurry.

Appointed in May 2006, Risch was halfway through a seven-month term when he convinced the Legislature to sign off on one of his top priorities.

Risch’s bill to slash property taxes for public schools by $260 million passed on Aug. 25, 2006, at the end of a one-day special legislative session.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

In August 2006, then-Gov. Jim Risch promised Idahoans $260 million in property tax relief.

He did deliver a tax cut to property owners.

But he did not deliver Idahoans an overall tax cut, according to an in-depth Idaho Education News analysis.

Instead, in 2015-16, Idahoans paid an additional $21.7 million for K-12 than they would have paid under the old tax structure — mostly because they now pay a higher sales tax. 

AP Photo

As students head back to classrooms across the state this week and next, Governor Butch Otter continues to push his five-year education plan. 

Idaho Ed News

It didn’t take long for former Gov. Jim Risch to remind me how I was earning a paycheck 10 years ago.

In August 2006, Risch was midway through a seven-month stint as governor, and brokering a deal to slash Idaho property taxes.

I was editorial page editor at the Idaho Statesman at the time — and our editorial board came out against his plan to eliminate $260 million in public school property tax levies, and use a $210 million sales tax increase to make up most of the difference.

Boise State University

"I came to be inspired. I need inspiration."

Those words were one bookend, spoken by a two-year Boise State University employee as she walked to the Morrison Center auditorium on Wednesday morning. 

David Erickson / Flickr Creative Commons

An Idaho school district will hand out nearly 2,000 laptops as the first phase of a personalized learning initiative.

KTVB-TV reports the Nampa School District will issue the Dell Latitude laptops to Columbia High School students this week. The computers can be used at school and at home.

The laptops are part of a three-year, $3.5 million project to modernize classroom technology and curriculum. It will also feature professional development for teachers.

College of Southern Idaho / Facebook

Students from foreign countries continue to be attracted to the College of Southern Idaho, even as international student enrollment declines at colleges across the country.

The Times-News reports CSI has consistently enrolled 61 international students despite funding cuts to government-sponsored programs that allow foreign students to study in the U.S. CSI spokesman Keith Quatraro says those students often come from Saudi Arabia, Canada and Germany.

Idaho Ed News

Gov. Butch Otter is standing by his numbers, in an ongoing dispute over transgender student policies.

Otter maintains that the Obama administration’s transgender student guidelines jeopardize about a third of the state’s education funding.

Idaho Ed News

Accusing the White House of “an incredible overreach,” Gov. Butch Otter’s staff attorney has urged a federal court to put the brakes on guidelines designed to protect transgender students’ rights.

But in a 34-page legal brief, filed Friday, Otter attorney Cally Younger appears to greatly misstate the potential fiscal impact of the federal policies.

Idaho Ed News

Slightly more than 25,000 Idaho elementary school students were reading below grade level, according to statewide test scores from this spring.

As sobering as those numbers sound, they also represent a snapshot. In the fall of 2015, more than 36,000 students were not reading at grade level. At the end of the school year, two-thirds of these students remained below grade level. But over the course of the school year, teachers and schools helped 11,000 students pull their reading skills to grade level.

screengrab aecf.org

The Annie E. Casey Foundation this week released its annual Kids Count report on child well-being. Idaho ranked 22nd out of the 50 states. But Idaho is not really in the middle of the pack when you break that ranking down into its individual components. In some measures, the state’s children have it much better than their peers in other states, and in some they have it much worse.

Idaho Ed News

Three Idaho charter schools run the risk of a midyear financial collapse, and are on notice with the state.

Idaho’s Public Charter School Commission has issued notices of fiscal concern to Blackfoot Charter Community Learning Center in Blackfoot; Syringa Mountain School in Hailey; and The Village Charter School in Boise.

U.S. Dept. of Education / Flickr Creative Commons

This year’s SAT results are out and Idaho high school juniors averaged 1002. If you’re bringing up what you know about SAT scores, maybe trying to remember your own, you may be thinking that’s pretty bad. And last year, when the total possible was 2,400, it would have been. But this is the first year of some big changes to the test and the scoring system. Now, the total possible score is 1,600.

Idaho Education News

The 2015 Disneyland measles outbreak stretched into Utah — but never crossed the border into Idaho.

Idaho Education News

Over several years, more than $2.3 million in federal grants went to Idaho charter schools that later closed their doors.

The grants came from $1.8 billion in federal programs designed to provide startup dollars for charter schools. And the U.S. Department of Education concedes the grant recipients include more than 400 failed charter schools.

Susan Lueck / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho State University has investigated allegations of bullying in its softball program and says the concern was based on misinterpreted comments.

The Idaho State Journal reports that ISU Director of Athletics Jeff Tingey says he received complaints from two players who said a small group of their teammates had been bullying them. Tingey says the teammates were stepping up as "vocal leaders" but it came off as bullying. He says the school has addressed the issue with the students.

Boise State University, campus
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Treasure Valley students and residents this fall will have an opportunity to take classes from Harvard Business School without leaving Idaho. Boise State University and the famed Ivy League school announced a new partnership Thursday.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

One Meridian high school student will be spending Memorial Day researching a World War II soldier from Idaho. He’s looking for help from the community to remember a soldier who died in Normandy.

Josh White is a sophomore at Renaissance High School. He and his teacher Janelle Gilson are taking part in a national program designed to teach students about World War II.

White is researching the life of Army Technician Fourth Grade Ray O. Coffey. He’s learned a few things from census and military records, but can’t find a lot about Coffey’s life in Boise.

Texas is filing a lawsuit over the Obama administration’s transgender student guidelines.

Ten other states are supporting the lawsuit, Reuters reported Wednesday. Idaho was not on that initial list, but will support the Texas lawsuit.

“We still plan to participate and are working on an amicus brief in support of the states listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit,” Mark Warbis, a spokesman for Gov. Butch Otter, said Wednesday afternoon.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Boise State University and Concordia Law School have created an arrangement aimed at undergrads who want to go to law school. Students can start at Concordia after three years at Boise State. For students in the “three plus three” program, the first year at Concordia will also count as the fourth year at Boise State. So students could get a bachelor's and a law degree in six years, rather than seven.

Concordia Law dean Cathy Silak says the program will help students minimize debt and get to the workforce quicker. She says it was a natural partnership.

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