Education

Idaho Ed News

The State Board of Education wants to crack down on bad teacher evaluation data.

Specifically, the board is looking at imposing fines against school superintendents who deliberately send false data to the state.

The board gave the idea its preliminary approval Monday morning — during a  meeting that was held via conference call. Reporters received word of the meeting only a few hours ahead of time.

Board members endorsed adding language on teacher evaluation data to the career ladder law — the state’s five-year plan to boost teacher salaries.

Otto Kitsinger / AP

Idaho first lady Lori Otter has launched a new program to promote school safety across the state.

The Post Register reports that Otter on Thursday at Shelley High School announced the Idaho Office of School Safety and Security, which will foster better school safety habits in light of recent school shootings.

The initiative was launched July 1 under the Division of Building Safety and will conduct security checks at all Idaho schools every three years.

Districts across the state will collect at least $7.7 million in “emergency” property taxes — money designed to cover the costs of growth.

In school funding parlance, the additional taxes are known as emergency levies. School districts qualify for emergency levies if their preliminary fall student numbers are up from the preceding year. School boards can pass an emergency levy without voter approval.

And for districts in the state’s growth areas, the emergency levy is a perennial tax of sorts — even though trustees can only approve the tax for one year at a time.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Last fall, more than 1,400 international students attended Idaho State University. This year, the number of international students enrolled has dropped by 36 percent. The decline comes after reports of racially charged attacks against some ISU students from the Middle East last spring.  

Steve Slocum / AP

New federal standards mean that children from low-income families will spend more time in Head Start preschool classes.

The Times-News reports that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced new performance standards last week that are designed to improve the Head Start program. Under the new guidelines, Head Start will provide center-xollbased services four days a week instead of the two it offered before.

Jon Rawlinson / Flickr Creative Commons

A national education policy advocacy organization is holding its 3rd annual conference in Boise this week. The agenda is mostly what you’d expect, a lot of speeches, which started Wednesday night and run through Friday. But the conference also features a reality TV twist.

Kimberlee Kruesi / AP

Idaho's top schools chief says she wants a 6.6 percent increase in education spending for 2017, requesting more money for teacher salaries and literacy improvement.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra released her plan Thursday. In it, Idaho's public school funding would bump up $104.7 million more than what lawmakers allocated this year.

Idaho Ed News

The state does not owe back payments to vendors on the defunct Idaho Education Network project, according to Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.

And Wasden says the vendors — Education Networks of America and CenturyLink — must return the millions of dollars they received for the mothballed broadband project.

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.

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