The Statehouse endgame ... The flurry of end-of-session activity focused mostly on transportation and taxes — and most education issues were settled more than a week ago. Still, one education bill emerged in the final 24 hours of the session. Lawmakers hammered out a plan to enable the state to siphon money into sidewalks and bike paths near schools.
Click here for photo gallery, video and comprehensive look at what the Legislature did, and didn’t, do
… and now, the waiting game. With legislators heading home, the focus now turns to Gov. Butch Otter. He will get the final word on legislation passed in the session’s closing days, including a bill to get rid of Idaho’s grocery tax. Otter has hinted he may veto the repeal, which could affect general fund revenues by about $80 million a year.
The incoming class of 2017. Several first-year lawmakers wound up on the Legislature’s education committees, and right in the middle of the debate over school science standards, teacher recruiting and retention and other education topics. They also had to acclimate themselves to the hurry-up-and-wait cadence of the Capitol. Catch up with four newcomers as they look back on their first session.
White House proposes budget cuts. Midway through the 2016-17 budget year, the Trump administration is pushing for spending cuts, in education and elsewhere. The White House wants to apply those savings to defense spending and the border wall project. The prospective impact in Idaho isn’t easily calculated, but the state receives $264.3 million a year in federal education dollars.
Pursuing passions. Twin Falls High School senior Drew Moffitt is a certified therapy handler. When he isn’t in class, Drew and his alpaca Sprite are often making the rounds volunteering at senior centers and other schools. For Jack Johnson, a student at Boise’s Riverstone International School, an interest in the culture of the Middle East has turned into a career path; he hopes to work for the Central Intelligence Agency or the State Department.
Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger with Idaho Education News, an independent news site focused on K-12 policy and politics, funded by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation. Richert has worked as a reporter, editor and columnist in Idaho since 1985.