The K-12 funding bill that includes allocations for the Career Ladder, discretionary funding and other items critical to public schools is still making its way through the legislature. The legislation received its second reading in the House Thursday, which should put it on track for a third reading and possible vote Monday.
Meanwhile, the Senate approved the budget for State Superintendent Sherri Ybarra’s office. The budget total is $28.8 million, which is about a 5% decrease over this year. Ybarra had requested funding for teacher evaluation training, but oversight of that program has been moved to the State Board of Education. The Department of Education budget passed Thursday did not include funding for Ybarra’s rural education network, but a committee will begin meeting next week to explore the needs of rural schools.
The Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee passed a “trailer” bill that appropriates $400,000 for phase two of work by the Funding Formula Committee. The funding piece of this legislation must still be approved by the full Senate and House, as well as having the governor sign it. The Funding Formula Committee is co-chaired by Sen. Chuck Winder (R-Boise) and Rep. Wendy Horman (R-Idaho Falls), and is looking into an overhaul of Idaho’s methodology for school funding, which has not changed since 1994.
Education Committee Meeting Update
As the legislature moves toward a hoped-for March 24 adjournment, the education committees have scaled back their meetings. The Senate Education Committee is expected to meet just once more, on Monday. The House Education Committee will meet briefly Friday, with meeting schedules for next week yet to be determined.