Two Boise schools were placed on lockdown this afternoon. Trail Wind Elementary and Les Bois Junior High in southeast Boise went on lockdown at the recommendation of the Boise police department. The lockdowns have now been lifted.

At about 1:30 p.m. Boise police received a report of a shot fired in a public area near the schools. Police positioned themselves at the elementary school and began a search of the area. They have found no evidence of gunfire or other suspicious activity.

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.

Idaho's teachers' union, the Idaho Education Association (IEA), has hired a public policy director, communications director and central Idaho director.

Matt Compton is IEA's new public policy director. According to a press release, Compton has been a lobbyist for the Idaho Sportsman’s Caucus since 2006.

Dave Harbison is the organization's new communications director. Harbison previously worked for Scott Peyron & Associates, a communications firm in Boise.

Tom Luna
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho public schools chief Tom Luna is seeking a nearly 6 percent increase in funding next year for schools and teacher salaries.

Luna is also proposing helping high school juniors and seniors pay for dual-credit classes that help earn college credit before graduation.

The Republican unveiled his $1.37 billion budget for 2014-15 on Tuesday. He said the spending increase mirrors recommendations spelled out earlier this year by an education task force assembled by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

The College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls has named the finalists in its search for a new president.

The presidential search committee on Tuesday forwarded the names of three finalists to the Board of Trustees: Daniel J. Bingham, D. Ryan Carstens and Jeff Fox.

The University of Idaho has five finalists for its top job. Four hold administration jobs at public universities and one is listed as a higher education consultant.

The U of I has been searching for a president since Duane Nellis left to take a job at Texas Tech last March. Law school dean Don Burnett has been filling in as interim president at a salary of $240,000 a year. He did not apply for the full time job.

Idaho’s State Board of Education will interview the candidates in October and hopes to announce the new president in November.

Mobile devices are traditionally considered a nuisance in schools. But a Portland startup is developing a way to turn students’ cell phones into classroom tools.

A north Idaho school district is launching a campaign to curb bullying. The effort includes curriculum changes and focus groups with a cross section of student cliques.

Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

A school board in northern Idaho is considering a new school security policy that includes training and arming district staff and teachers.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports the proposed policy has emerged after months of study by the Lake Pend Oreille School Board.

Board chairman Steve Youngdahl presented the proposal this week, saying unguarded schools are more attractive targets for mass shootings.

Mark Ramsay / Flickr Creative Commons

New state data that tracks high school students after graduation show they're enrolling in more than 450 institutions in every state in the country.

The new system also shows that fewer than half of Idaho's graduates went on to post-secondary schools and universities after getting their diplomas.

The State Board of Education is seeking its third chief academic officer in just five years as the post's current occupant shifts to a new role at Idaho State University.

Selena Grace is leaving the position she took over in 2010 to become vice president of institutional effectiveness in academic affairs at Idaho State University.

The state job pays about $91,000 annually.

The Education Board began its search for a new chief academic officer earlier this month and plans to keep the posting open through Oct. 11.

RDECOM / Flickr Creative Commons

The College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls is getting a $2.5 million federal grant to create a new degree program in food processing management.  

It’s part of $474.5 million awarded to community colleges nationally to expand demand-driven skills. The CSI program was the only Idaho grant in this round of a program called Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training, which will eventually give out $2 billion.

The U.S. Department of Education says the new CSI degree will meet the needs of the area’s major employers.

Cursive, education
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Department of Education is proposing several new rules that would affect what kids learn. But creating a new education rule in Idaho is a bit like a soccer game. There’s a long period of passing back and forth before the goal is reached. Take this one: a proposal to require elementary students learn cursive handwriting.

Cursive, education
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The state Board of Education is seeking input from the public on a series of new requirements — from mandatory cursive writing classes to making physical education a graduation requirement.

The board is taking public comment on six proposed rule changes in all. The board has also scheduled a public hearing Oct. 8.

The proposed rules includes a requirement that elementary students learn cursive writing — an idea initially pitched by Rep. Linden Bateman of Idaho Falls during the 2013 Legislature.

Washington State University will lead a new federal research center focused on finding new biofuels for jet airplanes.

Beraldo Leal / Flickr Creative Commons

The education data Idaho collects on its students should be used to improve teaching, not just report things like graduation rates, according to an out-of-state analyst. But for Idaho legislators serving on an education interim committee, and in the 2014 Legislature, safeguarding this data will likely be of equal importance.

Ground Beef, Food Recall
I Believe I Can Fry / Flickr Creative Commons

Update 11:00 a.m: Idaho’s Department of Education has issued a correction saying the removal of the ground beef from schools is technically not a “recall” but a “product retrieval.” According to a USDA spokesman the difference is who bought it. Legally speaking, a recall is issued by a company on retail products. Because the beef was not sold to the public it can’t be recalled. 

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s Lewis-Clark State College announced Monday it will stop charging an application fee for students sending in the paper form and drop the online application fee to $5.25.

The Lewiston school was already the application-fee bargain for Idaho’s four-year state schools at $35.

Melissa Hincha-Ownby / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho high school juniors who took the SAT last spring scored nearly the same compared to those who took the college entrance exam the year before. The College Board, the company that administers the SAT, says 500 is the benchmark which indicates students are ready for college. The 2013 juniors scored 452 in reading, 452 in math and 446 in writing. The 2012 group got 448 in reading, 454 in math and 447 in writing.

roland / Flickr Creative Commons

A company installing wireless Internet networks in Idaho public schools says it will reduce the contract's price tag amid pressure from lawmakers who question the deal.

The Spokesman-Review reported Friday that Tennessee-based Education Networks of America and the State Department of Education agreed the company will be paid only for schools it connects with Wi-Fi system, not get a flat fee.