The Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) took up and passed the FY 17 public schools budget on Monday, despite the fact that multiple education bills have yet to make their way through the legislature. A hotly-debated early literacy bill and legislation to increase leadership premiums for teachers have yet to be passed by both houses of the legislature. JFAC co-chair Shawn Keough (R-Sandpoint) told committee members that once those policy measures have been given the green light by the full House and Senate, JFAC members will be asked to approve trailer bills to increase funding for schools.
Today’s action by JFAC represents a 6.8% increase in K-12 public education funding. Even if all of the legislation currently in limbo is approved, the increase is expected to be roughly 7.4%, which is short of the 7.9% proposed by Governor Otter. Of particular note is the $2.375 million increase in professional development and mentoring for teachers, which is less than half of the governor’s $5 million request. The career ladder teacher salary funding allocation law mandates that all resident teachers receive mentoring during the first few years in the profession.
JFAC did approve full funding of the second year of the Career Ladder, including funding to move all pupil services staff to the appropriation ladder.
In addition, the committee dropped $27.3 million into operational funding. This decision returns Idaho to 2008-2009 funding levels (not accounting for inflation). The minority party made an unsuccessful bid to further increase operational funding by $5 million, but their motion failed along party lines. You can read more about today’s action by JFAC from Betsy Russell of the Spokesman Review and from Idaho Education News.
Legislators and Opponents Begin Filing for Office
It’s an election year. Every two years, all 105 legislative seats are up for election. Today is the first day of the ten-day period for Idahoans to begin filing to run for legislative office. As of noon today, nearly 1/3 of all sitting legislators had filed their intent to run for re-election.
Over the past few weeks, several lawmakers have announced their plans to retire from public office. Rep. Linden Bateman (R-Idaho Falls) has added his name to that list, citing family issues.
You can check out the list of individuals who have filed for election on the Secretary of State’s website. The list is updated several times each day.
Condolences to Governor Otter
The IEA extends our condolences to Governor Otter on the passing of his mother.
The Boise NBC affiliate, KTVB, is reporting that the governor’s 101 year old mother, Regina, passed away over the weekend.
Our deepest sympathies to Governor Otter and his family.