Education

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Last week the Nampa School District mandated four furlough days for all classified staff. That’s part of the district's plan to overcome a budget deficit of about $4.5 million. The district says teachers don’t have to take furloughs but, some say that’s not what they’re hearing.

Idaho’s Department of Education will reconvene a group that made safety recommendations for Idaho schools four years ago. That’s from a memo that schools’ superintendent Tom Luna sent Monday to district leaders, charter school administrators and school principals. The memo comes in response to Friday’s school shooting in Connecticut.

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Paul Elementary in south-central Idaho celebrated a new technology contract Friday afternoon. It brings an Apple iPad to every student and teacher, the contract puts laptops in every classroom, and provides for building wide tech support.

The event brought out Lieutenant Governor Brad Little, Speaker of the House Scott Bedke, and several other Idaho officials.

The school has signed a contract with a Utah based company called iSchools Campus.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The leaders of the campaign that defeated Idaho’s Propositions 1, 2 and 3 in last month’s election are concerned that the laws could come back. They’re speaking out against efforts to resurrect the education overhaul rejected by voters.

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Nampa’s school board has approved some money saving and revenue raising steps to fill about a $4.5 million shortfall. That budget hole was discovered last summer and blamed on accounting errors. The board approved recommendations Tuesday night from a special committee.

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New numbers out this week from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) show Hispanic students in Idaho making big improvements in reading. The NAEP from The U.S. Department of Education is known as “The Nation’s Report Card.” Its periodic assessments look at how students are doing on standardized tests in various subjects. The most recent report looks at reading vocabulary scores of fourth and eighth graders in 2011.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

This week we’ve been following a new lawsuit that alleges Idaho is not meeting its constitutional duty to adequately fund schools. Also this week Governor Butch Otter turned heads when he was asked if the state was living up to the constitution in that area.

“I would say probably not, but we’re doing the best job that we can,” Otter responded.

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Karen Apricot New Orleans / Flickr Creative Commons

A group of parents filed a lawsuit in October over fees in Idaho schools. They say charging fees for classes like science or art violates the state constitution. But to take on the state to change the education system they needed the right lawyer. They found Robert Huntley.

Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

Idaho Governor Butch Otter spent Wednesday afternoon discussing the coming legislative session at a meeting of the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho. Otter told the crowd lawmakers would revisit the education laws voters rejected last month. That’s despite the fact that Propositions 1, 2, and 3 were defeated by wide margins.

“I do believe that we will see parts of Proposition 1, the management plan, proposition 2, the pay for performance, and proposition 3, the high tech,” Otter said. “I think you’ll see parts and pieces of all of those come back at us.”   

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We first heard from Russel Joki two months ago when he and a group of parents filed a lawsuit against the state and its school districts.  Joki says the genesis of the suit came when he registered his grandson at Meridian High School.

“He was charged fees to take a chemistry class, to take a sports medicine class,” he recalls. “He was charged fees to enroll in art classes.”  

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

The kind of finely tuned data crunching that fueled the 2012 election is spreading to another venue: the classroom. You might have heard that campaign analysts can predict who you're likely vote for based on the magazines you read and the car you drive. Now, researchers are finding ways to predict who's likely to drop out of high school based on, say, a third grade attendance record. Schools hope a computer program will help them reach kids before it's too late.

Stack of Books
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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho just finished a bruising debate over reforming public education, with voters rejecting public schools chief Tom Luna's overhaul.

Come 2013, the Legislature is likely to discuss an education policy change not in that package but potentially as contentious: whether Idaho should offer tax credits to those who donate to scholarship programs meant to help students attend private or parochial schools.

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An Idaho school district is asking for more money in an ongoing court battle with a contractor.

The Blaine County School district and Seattle based McKinstry have sued each other over several million dollars’ worth of upgrades the company performed on district buildings. McKinstry says it’s owed money, and the district claims the company did unauthorized work.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

This week Boise State University announced it will change its logo from the diamond shape that has been in place since 2001 to what it calls a "forward moving B." Take a look at our slide show to learn more.

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Idaho’s Department of Education says the repeal of the Students Come First education laws means a $23 million cut for the state’s schools. It took the department time to come up with that number after voters rejected the laws early this month through ballot propositions 1, 2 and 3.

Renato Ganoza / Flickr Creative Commons

The Nampa School District won’t replace its deputy superintendent. Josh Jensen resigned this week from the troubled district’s number two position. Accounting errors have left Nampa in a budget hole near $4.5 million. The district’s Superintendent resigned two months ago. The new interim superintendent starts next week. In an e-mail to employees Tuesday a Nampa spokesperson said the district has accepted Jensen’s resignation effective immediately. It continues:

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho high school students won't have to take online classes to graduate. The State Board of Education repealed a rule Monday that required them.

Voters rejected the Students Come First laws on November 6 but one of those laws had a twist. It required the board of education to set the online class requirement, which it did. That requirement was still in place despite the laws' repeal.  The Idaho Legislature still has to sign off but, board spokesperson Marilyn Whitney says students should consider it gone.

Philip Taylor / Flickr Creative Commons

The Nampa School District is mired in a serious budget crisis. Accounting errors discovered last summer have put the state’s third largest district deep in the red. The deficit is now believed to be more than $4 million.

College of Idaho

Two students with ties to Idaho have been selected as Rhodes Scholars. 22 year-old Joseph Thiel and 23 year-old Amanda Frickle were announced as winners of the prestigious honor Sunday.

Thiel is originally from Idaho Falls. He now lives in Boise and is a senior chemical engineering and liberal studies major at Montana State University. He plans to study economics for development while at Oxford University.

Kids In School
Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

Idaho school Superintendent Tom Luna said this week the voter repeal of his education laws would mean a financial hit to districts. Today his department released an estimate of that impact. It says the Nov.

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