The first regular session of the 67th Idaho Legislature has concluded, and the overall result for public education in Idaho is positive.
Our K-12 teachers and staff will see increased funding, and our higher education institutions will receive much-needed capital improvement dollars to maintain our campus infrastructure.
In particular, the legislature approved funding that will significantly expand Career and Technical Education (CTE) capabilities and opportunities in both secondary and post-secondary general education.
Brad Little Idaho’s state of the art launch initiative will provide up to $8,000 to high school graduates to pursue career and technical education degrees, attend community college or complete workforce training for in-demand jobs. It will also expand scholarship opportunities for students attending four-year Idaho institutions.
Debbie Critchfield’s State-Ready Career Student Program is dedicating $50 million to expand CTE programs available to middle and high school students in rural Idaho. The one-time funding will be used to build and equip CTE facilities in schools across our state.
Idaho’s public school budget will increase overall by 2 percent next year, including a historic 16.4 percent increase in state funding. The budget includes $171 million in additional teacher salaries to help attract and retain teachers in Idaho.
Other noteworthy education legislation that has become law includes:
$100 million for school districts and charters to increase the salaries of classified employees, which include secretaries, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and other essential support staff.
– $54 million in additional discretionary funding for counties and charters to be used according to local needs.
$10 million for classroom technology, infrastructure, and educational management systems.
$4.9 million for teacher professional development, including support and training for teachers who work with students identified as having dyslexic characteristics.
– HB 92 requires all secondary schools to teach a class in financial literacy. Students will learn the basics of personal finance in the real world and how to make sound financial decisions in their daily lives. This class will meet the graduation requirements for financial literacy.
– HB 163 codifies the rights of parents to facilitate communication between parents and schools. The bill provides for standardized parental rights in public schools statewide.
– The College of Western Idaho has received nearly $900,000 to expand its capacity for nursing and STEM students, and to outreach and recruit students.
Now that the legislative session is over, I look forward to working with stakeholders and legislators during the transition period to formulate a strategy and legislation to implement enrollment-based funding for public schools on a permanent basis in the next cycle.
For three years now, we’ve used the board’s temporary rulemaking authority to use enrollment instead of average daily attendance to calculate state funding for public schools and it’s worked very well during the pandemic and thereafter to stabilize school funding.
Finally, I will close by thanking the Idaho Senate for confirmation of Dr. David Hale for another term on the Idaho State Board of Education.
Dr. Hill is a famous scientist and mathematician. He is a retired Deputy Director of Science and Technology at the Idaho National Laboratory and has been invaluable as a member of the state assembly.
The other Board members and I look forward to continuing to benefit from Dr. Hill’s experience and vision as we work to support and improve public education in Idaho.
Curt Liebish He is the president of the Idaho State Board of Education.