Education

Butch Otter
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A plan to help school districts crack down on bullying in Idaho's public schools is on its way to the governor's desk.

The Idaho Senate passed the bill 24-10 on Monday.

The bill would require local school district leaders to go through anti-bullying training and create a way for bullying to be reported.

Democratic Sen. Jane Ward-Engelking from Boise, who sponsored the bill, says that bullying can lead to depression and anxiety among students, as well as problems keeping up with classwork.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

State education officials have delayed finalizing Idaho's No Child Left Behind waiver with the federal government until the end of April in order to pursue a more flexible agreement for local districts.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra announced the change to the House Education Committee on Monday.

She had just finished attending meetings with other state education heads in Washington, D.C.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Boise State this weekend hosts the national championship tournament for one particular style of debate. It's the first time the International Public Debate Association has held the competition west of the Mississippi. 

Rookie teachers in Idaho will receive pay raises starting July 1 under a $125 million proposal headed to the governor's desk for his signature.

The Idaho Senate unanimously approved the measure Thursday, where senators offered only praise that the 30-page bill had survived both chambers after seeing prior proposals flounder this legislative session.

Education, school, classroom
IlmicrofonoOgglono / Flickr Creative Commons

The average teacher pay in Idaho dropped by more than $200 from 2012-13 to 2013-14 — a decrease that the state’s teachers’ union can’t explain.

On average, only two states pay their teachers less than Idaho.

A March 10 hearing on a teacher career ladder bill drew dozens of teachers to the Statehouse to testify. A new version of the bill passed the House Monday.

But meanwhile, pay appeared to increase for Idaho “instructional staff,” including counselors, principals and curriculum specialists.

internet, computer, broadband,
Sean MacEntee / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho school districts are saving the state millions of dollars after being forced to negotiate their own broadband services to replace a state contract deemed illegal earlier this year.

State budget writers approved allocating $6.3 million on Monday to fund school broadband services for one more year.

The amount is based on data provided to the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee showing that most schools have negotiated their own contracts at much lower rates than the state did when it was in charge of the now obsolete Idaho Education Network.

Travis Smith / Boise State Public Radio

Instructors at the University of Idaho and Boise State University and colleges around the country are protesting pay and working conditions for part-time faculty. National Adjunct Walk Out Day is meant to highlight the trend in higher education of relying on lower-paid, adjunct instructors who work from semester to semester.

A petition being circulated online and on Boise State’s campus Wednesday reads:

Kyle Green
Courtesy Idaho Statesman

Boise State University football coach Bryan Harsin has a new contract that pays him $6.25 million over five years.

The Idaho State Board or Education on Thursday approved the deal for Harsin who in his first season last year guided the Broncos to a 12-2 record and a Fiesta Bowl win.

The new deal replaces a previous contract that awarded Harsin a one-year extension for winning nine or more games.

The new agreement awards a one-year extension for eight or more wins.

Enokson / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho schools are scrambling to keep the Internet on for the rest of the school year. Lawmakers say the Idaho Education Network (IEN) will go offline as early as Sunday and districts need to make deals with local providers, or lose their internet connections.

The statewide program to get broadband in schools has been in jeopardy since a judge declared the state’s contract with internet service providers illegal  last November.

student, desk, classroom
BionicTeaching / Flickr Creative Commons

A district judge says Idaho's troubled broadband contract is void, clarifying a ruling made in November.

Fourth District Judge Patrick Owen submitted his final ruling Thursday as a response to the Idaho Department of Administration seeking reconsideration on the $60 million broadband contract. The program provides broadband access to Idaho's public schools. 

Owen voided the contract late last year after finding the state violated its own procurement laws. However, the state appealed to determine if the entire contract was illegal or only portions that had been amended.

Courtesy Gordon Jones

In August, Boise State University announced plans to create a new College of Innovation and Design.   Administrators said it was an answer to what nationally has become an aging academic model that’s producing college graduates with skill sets that don’t always align with what companies need.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The city of Boise and the Boise School District are teaming up to offer preschool as part of the city's Vista Neighborhood Project pilot program. Over a number of years, the city is putting several million dollars into this one part of town in hopes of transforming the relatively-poor neighborhood.

Diana Lachiondo with Boise’s mayor’s office says research shows preschool is good for communities.

boisestate.edu/planning

Boise State University says it's eliminating its Community and Regional Planning Department, a move that still requires approval by the state Board of Education.

The university says budget constraints made the decision necessary, and the graduate program’s small size made it a logical place to cut. The planning department has about 20 students according to an article on the university’s website.

Attending state-funded prekindergarten substantially reduces the likelihood that students will end up in special education programs later on, according to a new study by researchers at Duke University.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

The starting salary for Idaho teachers is lower than in Washington, Oregon, and three other surrounding states. Superintendents in Idaho border towns say that has left them with shortages.

The salary for a first-year teacher in Idaho is around $31,000. It doesn’t help that St. Maries, a school district in north Idaho, is only 30 miles from Washington, where the teacher starting salary is 15 percent higher and teachers move up the pay scale much faster.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Another attempt at establishing public preschool in Idaho will likely be introduced this month in the state Legislature. Idaho is one of only a handful of states that doesn’t have statewide public preschool. Many lawmakers object to it on philosophical grounds, despite strong evidence it’s good for student success.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra says she wants local school officials to decide how money should be spent in the classroom.

During her first budget presentation to the Legislature Thursday morning, Ybarra said she hadn't yet determined exactly how funds for some of her biggest policy initiatives would be spent. Instead, Ybarra said, she wanted to figure out those details once she saw just how much money the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee budgets for each line item.

Clark Gilbert
Courtesy BYU-Idaho

Deseret News CEO Clark Gilbert has been named the new president of Brigham Young University-Idaho.

The selection of Gilbert was announced Tuesday during a devotional at BYU-Idaho's campus in Rexburg, Idaho. Gilbert becomes the 16th president of the Mormon-owned school, and will take over for Kim B. Clark in April.

Data: Idaho Education News

Repeatedly — both before and after his election to a third term — Gov. Butch Otter’s praise for Idaho’s high school broadband system has focused on access.

The Idaho Education Network brings more classes into rural schools, he says, bringing the state that much closer to meeting its constitutional mandate to provide a uniform system of free public schools.

The state’s own numbers tell a very different story:

During his stop at Boise State University Wednesday, President Barack Obama will visit a lab that helps local entrepreneurs and industries build prototypes of their products to help get them into the marketplace.

Obama will visit the College of Engineering’s New Product Development Lab. It’s managed and run by the College of Business and Economics. 

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