The report cards. Gov. Butch Otter didn’t get everything he wanted on K-12 this year, and neither did state Superintendent Sherri Ybarra. But on Monday, Otter said the Legislature earned an A for its work on education. On Thursday, Ybarra praised lawmakers for keeping their commitment to boost teacher pay.
The state K-12 budget is in the books … It might have been one of Otter’s least surprising decisions, as he works his way through the stack of last-minute bills from the Legislature. He signed the seven K-12 budget bills into law Tuesday. That means Idaho schools will receive about $100 million in new funding in 2017-18, including $62 million for teacher pay raises.
… while Trump’s “skinny” budget causes heartburn. The White House’s “skinny” budget, a summary of President Donald Trump’s spending plan, proposes a stark change in federal spending priorities. Trump wants to cut the U.S. Department of Education budget by 13 percent, eliminating line items for teacher training and after-school programs. Some Idaho educators say the cuts would bring dire consequences; Ybarra downplays the potential impact.
Another broadband settlement in the works? Here’s another tidbit of news from Otter’s post-session news conference Monday. The governor said the state is talking to the feds about another settlement stemming from the Idaho Education Network broadband contract debacle. A federal contractor fronted the state about $13.5 million from telephone surcharges to help bankroll the ill-fated project.
The People’s Perspective. Education — and not the economy — ranks as Idahoans’ top priority, according to a new statewide survey funded by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation. But 53 percent of respondents gave their local school districts a grade of a C or lower. And just 7 percent of respondents said the state’s school system is in “very good shape and needs little change.” Details:
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.