Education

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.

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.

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.

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:

The White House / Flickr Creative Commons

President Barack Obama is scheduled to deliver a 2:45 p.m. speech today at the Caven-Williams Sports Complex on the Boise State University campus after delivering his State of the Union address last night.

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. 

Keyboard, computer, tech
newfilm.dk / Flickr Creative Commons

A new audit shows slightly more than half of the schools surveyed aren't using the equipment purchased through Idaho's pricey broadband contract and nearly 6 percent of the videoconferencing equipment can't be located.

Legislative auditors told budget writers Thursday that use of the Idaho Education Network, a program that provides broadband access to Idaho public schools, has declined since it first began in 2012.

State Sen. Dean Cameron says the report raises concerns for the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee as it considers funding the program for another year.

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

The state has outlined its timetable to rebid the Idaho Education Network broadband contract — and Idaho will likely have to go it alone on project funding at least until July 1, 2016.

The state Department of Administration won’t accept bids on the new contract until June, and that’s well past the deadline for the state (or school districts) to apply for federally administered “e-Rate” funds for 2015-16.

Here’s how the two timetables mesh:

Idaho Gets D- For State Support Of Higher Education

Jan 12, 2015
Young Invincibles

A national group working to engage young people on issues like education and health care gives Idaho a D- when it comes to state support for higher education.

Predicting what lawmakers will focus on during the Idaho legislative session is a bit of a gamble. But after eight terms in office, Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, has a good idea of the Legislature's priorities -- after all, he has a big influence in shaping that agenda. Hill, who is the President Pro-Tem of the Senate, points to education and gay rights issues as topics  front and center for lawmakers this year.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra offered a brief glimpse of her agenda for the 2015 Idaho Legislature at her first press conference since being elected in November.

Ybarra told reporters Monday that she is considering increasing operational funding for schools while possibly delaying the implementation of a new plan that seeks to tighten teacher certification credentials.

twitter.com/jkaf_foundation

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation has given away about $30 million a year in Idaho since the 1990s. Most of that money has gone to projects involving Idaho’s public schools. But foundation Executive Director Roger Quarles says the board and staff are frustrated with how that's worked out, and are changing the way they give.

“Since 1997 we’ve invested almost $700 million in K-12 and higher ed,” Quarles says. “And to me, it looks the same as it did 17 years ago. School basically looks the same, feels the same as it did a hundred years ago in Idaho.”

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