Education

Fourteen Idaho school districts say they’ll compete for federal Race to the Top money. Nearly 900 districts around the country have submitted intent to apply paperwork. They all want a slice of the $400 million available from the new Race to the Top-District competition.

In Idaho the Bonneville District wants the biggest share. It will apply for two grants worth between $20 million and $30 million.

The Nampa School District passed its levy this week. That means $1.6 million will be used for things like curriculum and building maintenance.

But the state’s third largest district has cut more than $5 million in other areas just in the last few months. That’s a result of two shortfalls. One of the line items taking a big hit in Nampa is the substitute teaching budget.

Last year Nampa spent $771,600 for substitute teachers. This year the district plans to cut $600,000 by using subs only for long term assignments such as maternity leave.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Students Come First education laws got a moment in the spotlight Wednesday at the Republican National Convention. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush spoke about Idaho’s 2011 education overhaul to more than 50 people.

Bush then led a panel discussion on education reform which featured Idaho Governor Butch Otter, School Superintendent Tom Luna, and other Republican education policy luminaries.

teamrealtyofidaho.com

Canyon County voters in Wilder, Notus, Homedale and Nampa appear to have approved school levies yesterday by wide margins. Nearly two-thirds of Nampa voted to pass a $1.6 million, two-year levy. Those same voters rejected a levy earlier this year for about twice that amount.

Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

Voters in several school districts in southwest Idaho go to the polls Tuesday. The Kuna School district will ask voters to approve nearly $3.2 million a year for the next two years. That money would be used to hire more teachers, reduce fees, plus maintenance and operations expenses. It could also mean the difference between offering drivers education or not.

votenoprop123.com

This November, Idaho voters will decide whether to keep the state's Students Come First education laws, known as propositions 1, 2, 3 on the ballot. Now the fight over how you should vote has intensified. That fight has taken to the air waves.

If you tune into a commercial radio station in Idaho right now, you might hear a perky sounding woman going down her back to school check list.

Boise State University

Boise State President Bob Kustra says times are changing for colleges and universities, including his own.  In his tenth annual State of the University Address, Kustra reflected on recent funding cuts, and how the university has responded.  

He told a room full of faculty and staff that he’s as challenged and scared as they are. “These are challenging times, they’re scary times, there’s no question about it.” 

teamrealtyofidaho.com

The Nampa School District is going into the school year with a $2.8 million shortfall. The reason: an accounting error that had gone undiscovered since last school year. That information comes to light as the district prepares for a $1.6 million levy vote August 28th. The question on many people’s minds is, how will the shortfall announcement influence voters?

The Nampa School District shocked its board and city residents Tuesday when it announced a budget shortfall of $2.8 million.  Because of accounting errors, Nampa superintendent Gary Larson told his audience, the district spent money it didn’t have.

The shortfall is in last year's budget, and it's coming to light at an unfortunate time: just as the district finishes making cuts to fill a budget gap for the year ahead.

Larson says the district's finance team caught the problem a little more than a week ago and alerted the deputy superintendent. 

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

In Washington D.C. Tuesday a national summit on preventing bullying in schools rapped up. It’s the third year the U.S. Department of Education has hosted the summit on what is a growing concern among educators and parents. In Boise Tuesday Idaho teachers came together to learn ways to prevent bullying.

hmdb.org

Forbes has released its latest ranking of the nation’s top colleges. The Idaho school highest on the list of 650 is College of Idaho at 222. The private liberal arts school in Caldwell has about 1,000 students.

The magazine bases the ranking on teaching quality, graduation rates, career prospects, and debt level. Idaho’s next school on Forbes’ list is Brigham Young University Idaho at 358. University of Idaho comes in at 396. Boise State makes the list at 616 with Idaho State University at 620.

mckinstry.com

A judge has dismissed a charge of racketeering that the Blaine County School District had leveled against a contractor. Seattle based McKinstry performed energy upgrades on several district buildings. The company later sued saying it wasn’t paid all it was owed. The district says McKinstry billed for unauthorized work and responded to the suit with the racketeering charge. Fifth Judicial District judge Robert Elgee dismissed that claim this week. However, the court has not ruled on other misconduct charges made by the district.  

A unique summer camp wraps up in Boise Friday. About 20 middle school age kids spent two weeks making art projects, going on field trips and singing songs. All pretty typical camp activities but for half the participants it was a new experience. They’re refugees from half a dozen countries on three continents. Boise’s Department of Parks and Recreation teamed up with the Idaho Office for Refugees for the first Boise International Camp.

StateImpact Florida NPR

Idaho is one of only five states still waiting for a waiver to the No Child Left Behind education law. California and Nevada are also waiting for permission to use their own academic accountability systems.

shawncambell / Flickr

Editor's Correction:  We originally reported that K12 owns Idaho Virtual Academy. This was reflected in the original headline and in the first paragraph. "The company that owns Idaho’s largest charter school has a weak academic record.This is not correct. K12 does not own Idaho Virtual Academy but it does provide lesson materials.

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