Governor Otter began laying out his budget priorities during his annual State of the State address yesterday. We have sifted through the pages-long document to give you a brief view of the Governor’s blueprint for school funding in FY 15. His budget recommendation calls for:
- Paying for growth in student population. The governor has asked for funds to pay for an additional 47 support units (think classrooms).
- Providing one-time funding for approximately two days of professional development for teachers, based on the recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force for Improving Education.
- Providing $10.4 million to districts in ongoing funding for technology purchases and upgrades
- Providing $3 million in one-time funding for a second round of one-to-one technology pilot project grants to school districts
- Increasing Idaho Digital Learning Academy funding
- Putting $500,000 into the NASA Partnership Program, a scholarship-based program that will fund 80-90 scholarships for 11th grade students to pursue STEM degrees and careers
- Providing $1 million for the first phase of development of a regional Cooperative Education Service Agency (CESA). This new agency would eventually help create “cost-effective solutions” to school districts through the offering of services such as grant writing, technology development, professional development, and educator licensure programs to local school districts.
- Providing $21 million to fund the charter school facilities law that was passed last year
Though not specifically included in the governor’s public school budget recommendation, Otter is also recommending that legislators fund three special committees, under the direction of the State Board of Education, to deal with Task Force recommendations regarding: career ladder and tiered licensure, accountability and autonomy, and mastery learning and changing the funding formula.