Education

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

Idaho’s child immunization rates improved in 2015, reaching a five-year high.

And Department of Health and Welfare officials don’t know what to make of the numbers yet.

 

In 2015, 86.7 percent of Idaho students were considered “adequately immunized,” according to Health and Welfare spreadsheets obtained this week by Idaho Education News. The 2014 figure was 85.6 percent.

Idaho Education News

Idaho continues to languish well behind its lofty college completion goals, according to a newly released national study.

On top of that, Idaho’s numbers rank No. 46 in the nation.

In 2014, 37.7 percent of Idaho’s adults held a postsecondary degree or certificate, the Lumina Foundation wrote in an annual report on college completion rates. The national completion rate was 45.3 percent.

Tim Lauer / Flickr Creative Commons

The Nampa school district will offer full-day, every-day kindergarten classes at some elementary schools in the fall.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reports that enrollment is open for full-time kindergarten at three Nampa-area schools.

District officials say full-day kindergarten classes will allow teachers to focus on developing social skills and participation as well as the academic lessons shorter schedules focus on.

Raja Sambasivan / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho State Board of Education is considering linking funding for higher education to student success.

The Idaho Statesman reports that the board is drafting a proposal for next year's Legislature that would weight college's needs based on educational outcomes instead of growth in enrollment or credit hours taught.

Idaho Education News

Gov. Butch Otter issued his first vetoes of the year Tuesday afternoon, killing the closely watched Bible-in-schools bill.

Idaho Education News

State Sen. Brent Hill can remember a time when it was difficult to get a K-12 budget through the Legislature.

Not that this requires a long memory. It was only three years ago when the Senate killed the first version of a K-12 spending plan — the result of an unusual public showdown between legislative budget-writers and the Senate Education Committee.

Boise State University

Update: March 18, 2016

Our original story said that Leroy was up for adoption. Sadly, Leroy took a turn for the worst and passed away on Thursday.

Leroy suffered from abuse and neglect before he was rescued by Boise Bully Breed Rescue. On their Facebook page, the group said Leroy took a turn for the worst after the last few days. The group says Leroy spent the last four months with a better quality of life and a chance to “be a happy dog again.”

Idaho Education News

A report tracking $16.7 million in teacher “leadership premiums” — compiled by the State Department of Education and presented to two legislative committees — is fraught with math errors.

The report came under some harsh scrutiny in the House Education Committee Thursday morning. A State Department of Education official acknowledged the errors in the report, but said it was impractical to doublecheck the schools’ math.

Courtesy Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine

Since we learned recently that a for-profit medical school will be built in Meridian, we’ve also heard criticism that it won't help solve Idaho’s doctor shortage. Much of that criticism is about the lack of residency positions in Idaho. Critics argue doctors don’t practice where they go to medical school, but where they do their residency. Idaho only has 41 spots for residents and competition is already stiff.

Idaho Education News

The state has been negotiating with two Idaho Education Network vendors since October — in hopes of settling more than $6 million in legal claims.

But when the state absorbed another resounding defeat in court Tuesday, the negotiations got derailed.

“Right now we’re in a little bit of a cooling-off period,” Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill told Idaho Education News Thursday. “People want to go back to their own corner.”

Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Supreme Court sided with a district judge Tuesday, voiding the contract for the Idaho Education Network broadband project.

The court’s unanimous ruling could have $25 million worth of implications for the state — and its taxpayers. Idaho could be forced to write off or give back federally administered fees that were supposed to offset the costs of the high school Internet system.

Idaho's public schools are on track to receive a 7.4 percent budget increase under a plan from the Legislature's budget-setting committee.

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee approved a 6.8 percent boost — about $100.3 million — for public schools on Monday morning. But some components of the K-12 budget plan are still working their way through the House and Senate, and committee members said they expect those bills will bring the total public education budget to a 7.4 percent increase over the previous year.

dontfailidaho.org/screengrab

The Boise School Board and the district’s superintendent have come out with some sharp criticism of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation. The rebuke comes in the form of an op-ed related to how the foundation portrays Idaho schools. 

At the center of the controversy is a TV commercial from the Albertson Foundation’s “Don’t Fail Idaho” campaign. In it, a school bus with five teenagers stops in the middle of nowhere. Four get off and the bus drives away. Then a voice says...

Boise State University School of Public Service

In a public opinion poll from Boise State University that we’ve been reporting on this week, respondents overwhelmingly named education as the most important issue in Idaho. But, that desire to focus on education comes with a pretty low opinion of the state’s school system.

Idaho Education News

Last time around, it took lawsuits to force Idaho to rewrite its school funding formula.

Then it took a ton of new money to seal the deal. The spending increase was huge — and today, it would take more than $350 million to match it.

That was 1994.

Now, fast forward to 2016.

Herald Post / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho schools chief Sherri Ybarra is proposing a 7.5 percent hike in public school funding. The increase would go toward more money for teacher salaries and restoring funding to pre-recession levels for Idaho's 115 school districts to spend on paying insurance, utilities or other operations costs.

Ybarra presented her budget to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. She is requesting spending $1.5 billion for fiscal 2017, which is nearly $110 million more than this year's budget.

Monash University / Flickr Creative Commons

Regional medical school administrators are requesting more money to expand the number of seats for Idaho in a regional program that educates medical students.

Mary Barinaga, an assistant dean with the University of Washington, says they need an additional $278,900 to add five additional Idaho seats in WWAMI — the partnership between Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho and the University of Washington.

The request would fulfill a 2009 plan to increase the number of Idaho students to 40 per class.

Boise State University

Many Boiseans woke up Friday to news that a former president at Boise State University had passed away.

Dr. John Keiser served as president from 1978 to 1991, and is credited with beginning a major transformation at the institution. For instance, facilities like Morrison Center and Taco Bell Arena were built during his tenure. The famous blue football turf was also installed while Keiser was president.

Idaho Education News

A year ago at this time, a STEM Action Center wasn’t even so much as a proposal.

Angela Hemingway was working with the State Department of Education. She was “deep in the weeds” of assessment and accountability issues, and the idea of a STEM center wasn’t really on her mind.

In 2016, the brand-new STEM Action Center could get a big cash infusion from the Legislature. Hemingway, the center’s executive director, is fielding questions from lawmakers about how the money would be used.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

In recent years, funding for higher education has been a secondary focus for Idaho lawmakers. Following the recession, K-12 schools were lawmakers’ top education priority. But now - amid continued revenue growth and changing workforce needs - higher education is being discussed more and more. Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter proposed this week the state’s four-year colleges and universities get a nearly 9 percent increase in state funding next fiscal year.

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