Education Funding

12:27 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Idaho Endowment Fund Hits Record $1.7 Billion

Idaho's endowment fund hit a record high of $1.73 billion after earning high returns on its investments over the past year.

Investment manager Larry Johnson told the Idaho Land Board on Tuesday that the fund during the fiscal year that ended June 30 earned its second-highest amount in its history.

This is also the second year in a row the fund hit an all-time high.

That means there will be an increase in how much the fund can distribute to public schools and other endowment beneficiaries.

9:42 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Coeur d'Alene Tribe Donates $1.2 Million To School Programs

Credit Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

The Coeur d'Alene Tribe has donated $1.2 million to 52 educational programs in Idaho.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports the tribe made the announcement Thursday.

The money is going to support educational efforts ranging from reading, music, arts, science, college scholarship programs and vocational preparation.

The chairman of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, Chief Allen, says the money will allow students to focus on learning.

Most of the money was distributed in Kootenai and Benewah counties in northern Idaho.

Read more
6:30 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Idaho School Districts Increasingly Rely On Levies To Pay The Bills

Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

School districts across Idaho will be asking voters to approve supplemental levies Tuesday. That includes Meridian, Nampa, and Kuna. Districts going to voters for more money has become commonplace in recent years.

A little more than a decade ago, about a third of Idaho schools had levies in place. Now it’s two thirds, according to Mike Ferguson, head of the non-profit research group Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy. In that time, the money coming from levies has tripled to about $190 million. 

Read more
Idaho Legislature
5:59 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Idaho Budget Writers Approve 5 Percent Boost For Schools

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Budget writers at Idaho’s Capital approved a 5.1 percent increase in education spending for next fiscal year. The budget includes a 1 percent boost for teacher pay and an additional $15.8 million dollars for leadership bonuses.

If approved, the budget will bring state spending on schools to $1.374 billion dollars. That’s slightly higher than 2008’s $1.367 billion, but still below the state’s 2009 peak of $1.418 billion.

Read more
7:30 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Idaho Isn't Very Fair About How It Doles Out School Cash, Report Finds

Credit FlickingerBrad / Flickr Creative Commons

A report from the New Jersey-based advocacy group the Education Law Center, says Idaho does not do a good job spending its education money fairly for all students.

Read more
5:18 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Idaho Schools Stay Near The Bottom In Education Report Card

Preschoolers in Caldwell's P-16 program practice writing their names.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s education system saw no significant improvement in the past year, at least according to Education Week’s 2014 Quality Counts state report card. The annual report from the education-focused news outlet is frequently cited by all sides during education debates in Idaho.

Read more
4:14 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Luna's K-12 Budget Plan Could Mean Less Money For Idaho Universities

Some Idaho Board of Education members fear a proposed 5.9 percent funding hike for public schools in 2015 could come at the expense of universities.

On Thursday, board member Bill Goesling of Moscow worried the $77 million increase public schools chief Tom Luna wants for K-12 schools would siphon money from colleges including the University of Idaho, Idaho State University and Boise State University.

Read more
Education Funding
10:59 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Texas Stuntman Sends Nearly $1 Million To Idaho Schools

"Big" Ed Beckley.

Idaho schools will get $943,000 from a Texas stuntman, in return, the stuntman has purchased the right to jump the Snake River Canyon.

The bid made by "Big" Ed Beckley in a public auction last week is due to the state of Idaho Friday afternoon. He'll wire the money to the state.

Beckley is a 63-year-old who's been jumping motorcycles since the mid 1970s.  At 285 lbs. he bills himself as the world's largest motorcycle jumper. 

Read more
Education Spending
11:07 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Idaho Schools Chief Asks For Big Funding Increase, But Lawmakers Rarely Oblige

Luna unveiled his budget proposal Tuesday in a speech to the Meridian Chamber of Commerce. Here he is talking with audience members afterwards.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s school superintendent Tom Luna released his budget request for next year Tuesday. Luna is asking for a $77.8 million bump in state spending for education. That would be a 5.9 percent increase. That’s how much the Legislature increased education spending in 2007, the year before the financial crisis. Since then, the education budget has seen big cuts, and more recently, modest increases.

Read more
Education Spending
5:49 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Idaho Is Next To Last On Education Spending

Credit jcbwalsh / Flickr

Of the 50 states and the District of Columbia only Utah spends less on education than Idaho. A new report Tuesday from the U.S. Census Bureau says Idaho spent $6,824 for each student in its public schools in 2011. The National average is $10,560. New York tops the list spending $19,076.

Read more
Education Task Force
8:35 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Public Tells Idaho Ed Task Force To Increase Funding, Get Idaho Out Of Common Core

About 200 people turned out for the Education Improvement Task Force Public Meeting in Boise. Phoebe and Lizzie Smith (at right) spoke about the importance of funding and special education.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Education Improvement Task Force finished a statewide listening tour Thursday night in Boise. The group was created to recommend ways to improve the state’s schools after voters repealed an education overhaul last November.

Thursday night’s public meeting was well attended compared to some past meetings. About 200 people squeezed into the state capital building’s Lincoln Auditorium and 37 spoke. It lasted more than two and a half hours.

Read more
School Fees
7:26 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Judge Dismisses Part Of A Case Over Idaho School Fees

Robert Huntley represents the plaintiffs in Joki v. Idaho.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A judge has tossed out part of a case to change education funding in Idaho. The case, known as "Joki vs. the State of Idaho," was filed last fall alleging it was unconstitutional for school districts to charge fees for classes. Wednesday’s hearing was to decide what parts of this case could move forward.

Read more
2:00 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Levy Votes Show Disconnect Between Idaho Public And Lawmakers On Education

Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho voters Tuesday agreed to pay more than $100 million in additional taxes over the next few years when they approved 36 new school district levies. Reliance on supplemental levies to shore up school budgets has increased dramatically since the recession spurred cuts in state funding.  

David Adler, director of the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State, says the legislature is increasingly shifting the responsibility to fund education to local homeowners who pay property taxes. He says Tuesday’s levy votes reveal a disconnect between voters and lawmakers.

Read more
School Levies
4:52 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Nampa Voters Agree To Multimillion Dollar School Levy

Credit Karen Apricot New Orleans / Flickr Creative Commons

Updated 11:30 A.M.: Teachers, administrators and parents in the Nampa School District are likely breathing a sigh of relief. Nearly three quarters of voters said yes to a $4.3 million levy request Tuesday.

Read more
11:08 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Idaho School Districts Ask Voters For More Money

School districts across Idaho are asking voters for more money Tuesday through levies. Many districts that are still recovering from years of state budget cuts say they need more help from local residents. The Payette school district, for example, may have to close a small elementary school and send its students to other district schools.  

Read more
3:08 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Idaho One Of Five States That Stand To Lose Most Education Money In Sequester

Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

It’s been several days since the federal spending cuts known as the sequester went into effect, and it’s still unclear how they will impact people’s lives.

Read more
2013 Legislature
8:04 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Public Wants Idaho Lawmakers To Invest More Dollars Into Education

More than 350 people came to an education listening session with state lawmakers Monday night including teachers.
Credit Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

About 350 people came to a meeting at Idaho’s capital Monday night which lawmakers called an education listening session. Many signed up to share their thoughts on issues facing public schools. One theme rose to the top, education funding, or the lack of it. 

Read more
Education Funding
3:40 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Idaho Schools’ Chief Wants 3 Percent Increase In Education Spending

Superintendent Tom Luna last September explaining his budget recommendation. That had to be re-written after the Students Come First repeal.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Superintendent of Education asked lawmakers Thursday to increase funding for public schools by 3 percent. For some details on that proposed budget our education reporter Adam Cotterell joined All Things Considered host Samantha Wright in the studio.

Here follows a transcript of that conversation:

Samantha Wright: Adam Where should we start?

Adam Cotterell: How about where Superintendent Tom Luna started with lawmakers?

Tom Luna: “A lot has occurred since I stood before you a year ago.”

Read more
Higher Education
5:58 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Idaho’s Universities Steadily Lose State Support Over Long Haul

Boise State University on a snowy day earlier this month.
Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

For the past three days, the presidents of Idaho’s state colleges and universities have stood before lawmakers. They’ve all made the case for why their school should get state money. But that’s been an increasingly tough sell over the years.

This year Idaho’s colleges and universities got a $19 million boost from lawmakers. But after several years of cuts that only brought higher education spending back to 2006 levels. And even in times when schools were getting more money each year, the increases did not keep pace with growth.

Read more
State of the State
10:56 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Idaho Governor Not Committed To Education Funding Says Former Advisor

Credit Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

First came the preliminaries: welcomes, thanks, a nod to Abraham Lincoln for creating the Idaho Territory 150 years ago this year.  But then it was time for the money. Governor Butch Otter’s first announcement in his State of the State address Monday was a proposal to raise state spending as a whole by 3.1 percent. That’s based on an estimated 5.3 percent increase in revenue. 

Read more