Bob Lokken, a Boise CEO, just finished eight months of work with 30 other business, education and government leaders to lay out a vision for how Idaho can improve its public schools.
Now hes going to go out and pitch the plan to fellow corporate leaders across the state.
I think we have a lot of work left to educate people, said Lokken, part of Idaho Business for Education, business leaders who advocate for stronger education. I dont expect people to just cart blanche take what weve said.
Lokken and the rest of Gov. Butch Otters Task Force to Improve Education wrapped up work Friday, endorsing with little dissent 21 recommendations that cover education issues from higher teacher salaries to tougher academics.
But some task force members did raise questions about a lack of detail in some proposals and a lack of a priority list to identify which of the 21 ideas are the most important.
State Sen John Goedde, R-Coeur dAlene, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, questioned whether the Legislature would bite on proposals that could well exceed $300 million.
Roger Brown, Otters special assistant for education, praised the committee, created by the governor following an acrimonious campaign last fall that ended with voter repeal of Idahos Students Come First laws.
They delivered a tremendous document, he said. There are obvious costs associated with it. There are challenges with it.
He declined to discuss specific recommendations.
Otter has said he didnt want the committee to dwell on costs. Bring him ideas, he said, and he and the Legislature would work it out.
In advance of the 2014 Legislature, Otter is expected to come back for a public meeting with the task force to discuss what he thinks he can do and what the states budget numbers look like.
Otter likely will need the help of his task force to persuade legislators to rethink their approach to public education, which has been to increasingly micromanage some school district operations.
Rep. Reed DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, co-chair of a task force subcommittee, said he supports every single one of the recommendations.
But turning the general concepts into bills the Legislature will pass could be challenging, he said.
The devil is in the details, he said.
DeMordaunt said he believes that lawmakers might retreat from recommendations that turn over decisions about improving student achievement to local districts.
Yet Boise School District leaders, among others, say they need that authority to be effective.
Thats going to be a leap for the Legislature, said DeMordaunt, who chairs the House Education Committee.
Standing still wont benefit the state, said Lokken, CEO of White Cloud Analytics.
Businesses are gravely concerned with where our education system is versus what we need to support the states economy, he said. I am confident when people have had a chance to vet those question and hear why it is we decided what we did ... we will start to bring people on board.
Bill Roberts: 377-6408, Twitter: @IDS_BillRoberts