Public Schools

Kimberlee Kruesi / AP

Idaho's public schools chief is seeking a 6.8 percent increase in education spending for 2018, describing it as a budget with no surprises and no new initiatives.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra released her plan Friday. If approved by lawmakers in January, Idaho's public school funding would bump up nearly $114 million more than what lawmakers allocated this year for a total of $1.78 billion.

Idaho Ed News

Based on the experience in other states, it could take three to five years for Idaho to rewrite its school funding formula.

And based on Tuesday’s hearing, a panel of Idaho lawmakers doesn’t seem to be much interested in a rush job.

Idaho Ed News

It didn’t take long for former Gov. Jim Risch to remind me how I was earning a paycheck 10 years ago.

In August 2006, Risch was midway through a seven-month stint as governor, and brokering a deal to slash Idaho property taxes.

I was editorial page editor at the Idaho Statesman at the time — and our editorial board came out against his plan to eliminate $260 million in public school property tax levies, and use a $210 million sales tax increase to make up most of the difference.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation has offered to help finance possible research and other studies in the state's pursuit of modernizing how Idaho funds its public schools.

Sen. Chuck Winder says the foundation on Monday offered to write a check to the legislative committee in charge of reviewing the state's complicated school funding formula. Winder, a Republican from Boise, did not say how much was offered.

Attempts to contact the foundation were not immediately returned Tuesday.

capitol, statehouse, idaho
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Lawmakers may be done setting the state budget and passing laws, but they'll continue to work on reviewing hot button issues varying from multi-million contracts, school broadband access and public defense reform.

Legislative leaders approved the 2015 interim committees on Tuesday. The panels will meet over the summer and provide recommendations to lawmakers during next year's legislative session.

This included appointing members to a new committee to review Idaho's bidding and selection process of the state's most expensive contracts.

Idaho's endowment fund hit a record high of $1.73 billion after earning high returns on its investments over the past year.

Investment manager Larry Johnson told the Idaho Land Board on Tuesday that the fund during the fiscal year that ended June 30 earned its second-highest amount in its history.

This is also the second year in a row the fund hit an all-time high.

That means there will be an increase in how much the fund can distribute to public schools and other endowment beneficiaries.

Students Who Take Advanced Courses Do Well In Idaho

Jan 24, 2013

More than half of Idaho students who took an advanced placement course, passed their exams. That's just one of the findings from a recent national analysis of federal education data by ProPublica. The data covers the 2009-2010 school year and looks at as ProPublica reports, "to examine whether states provide high-poverty schools equal access to advanced courses and special programs that researchers say will help them later in life." You can explore the data for yourself and see how Idaho stacks up with the rest of the country. According to ProPublica, "This is the first nationwide picture of exactly which courses are being taken at which schools and districts across the country. More than three-quarters of all public school children are represented."

Empty Classroom
Karen Apricot New Orleans / Flickr Creative Commons

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — House and Senate education committees will hold a "listening hearing" on Feb. 1, an opportunity for the public to weigh at the Legislature just months after public schools chief Tom Luna's overhaul went down to defeat.

Leaders of the panels in both chambers announced the session on Monday.

It's due to run between 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. in the Capitol's basement auditorium.

House Education Committee Chairman Reed DeMordaunt said he wants to invite everyone to share their thoughts on improving Idaho's public schools.