Education

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s State Board of Education wants 60 percent of Idahoans 25-to-34-years-old to have a post-secondary degree or certificate by 2020.  A study released this week finds the state may be closer than people suspected to reaching that goal.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Two of Idaho's largest universities reported enrollment declines this year.

Boise State University saw its total students during the fall semester sag to 22,003 from 22,678 last year, a drop of 3 percent.

Meanwhile, the University of Idaho said its overall enrollment plunged nearly 5.2 percent to 11,844, from 12,493.

Both schools sought to put a positive spin on declining enrollments.

Glenn Mosley

The University of Idaho wants to build a new house for the next school president.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that school officials presented the plan to the Idaho State Board of Education on Thursday.

The plan by the school's presidential residence study committee recommends that the president's house be rebuilt at the same location as the current residence.

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.

The Blaine County School District has agreed to settle a lawsuit with a Seattle-based company contracted to do a multimillion-dollar green energy project on Sun Valley-area schools.

The district announced the settlement Tuesday with McKinstry Essention Inc. to end an 18-month legal battle.

The Times-News reports settlement includes an exchange of final payments by each side.

Idaho Virtual Academy is the state’s largest public charter school with more than 3,000 students. IDVA contracts with for profit company K12 Inc. for its curriculum and management. In 2007, K12 sent student essays from several schools to India to be edited. We now know that Idaho Virtual Academy was one of those schools.

School kids looking for something to do after class could benefit from another $1.5 million in federal funding headed Idaho's way.

The State Department of Education says it plans to divvy up the money for next year, but now is the time for districts to apply for a cut of the cash.

It's coming through the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which aims to boost art, music, sports and drug and violence prevention during the non-school hours — when some kids might otherwise get into mischief.

A public hearing on a proposal that would allow school teachers in a northern Idaho school district to carry weapons is drawing mixed reviews from parents and faculty.

The Lake Pend Oreille School Board hosted the hearing in Sandpoint Tuesday night to gage public reaction to the idea.

About 300 people turned out to offer their opinions, with more than half of those testifying supporting the plan or pushing for more serious study.

uidaho.edu

Boise residents will have a chance to meet the five finalists being considered for the University of Idaho's top job over the next month. A committee has been looking for a new president since Duane Nellis left to become the president of Texas Tech last March.

Each candidate will be in Idaho for about two days. They’ll spend a full day at the main campus in Moscow. Then each will get on a chartered plane and make a whirlwind tour of U of I extensions in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, and Boise, says Marilyn Whitney with Idaho’s State Board of Education.

A school district in north Idaho is considering a plan to arm select teachers and staff with concealed handguns. The school board is asking for public comment at a meeting Tuesday in Sandpoint, Idaho.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting last year, officials at the Lake Pend Oreille School District took a look at their own safety procedures. They discovered that, in a similar situation, some of the rural schools in the district would have to wait as long as 20 minutes for police arrive.

Now, the district is floating the idea of giving teachers the means to shoot back.

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.

uidaho.edu

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.

Classroom
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.

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