The process of building the K-12 public education budget takes another step forward Thursday morning when State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra addresses the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee. Ybarra will officially unveil her budget request, including any changes from the proposal she outlined this fall. Highlights from her preliminary request include:
- A 6.7% overall increase in public education funding
- Full funding of year three of the Career Ladder salary allocation plan
- A slight boost in discretionary funding to $25,696 per classroom unit, which would return Idaho to pre-recession levels, but does not account for inflation
- Increases for technology, college and career advising, and Phase 2 of a reading initiative
You can follow Ybarra’s presentation and questions from JFAC via online streaming at http://idahoptv.org/insession/leg.cfm.
House Education Committee Hears Concerns About Elimination of Fees
The fallout from a recent court ruling that declared academic fees unconstitutional was a significant point of discussion at Wednesday’s meeting of the House Education Committee. The President of the Idaho Parent Teachers Association, Maria Lorcher, testified that the elimination of those fees has brought about serious financial issues for districts and schools. Lorcher indicated that providing everything from sanitary supplies to science lab equipment has become very problematic. She encouraged the legislature to provide districts with more discretionary money, as well as the flexibility to use those funds as needed. Idaho Education News has more in this story, including quotes from Rep. John McCrostie (D-Garden City), who is an IEA member and music teacher in addition to his role on the House Education Committee.
Still Time to Contact U.S. Senators About DeVos Confirmation
Just how unqualified Betsy DeVos is for the position of Education Secretary is becoming more evident almost daily. A vote on her confirmation is scheduled for January 31, and we urge you to let our Senators know that they should unequivocally vote NO. Please call 855-882-6229 or use this form to send written comments.
DeVos is an advocate for the privatization of our public schools, and her efforts to “reform” schools have been disastrous. She favors charter schools, but told Senators that she doesn’t believe they need to be as accountable as public schools. There is also no mistaking the conflict of interest that arises as DeVos and others make large donations to decision-makers and then profit from the privatization of public schools—undermining the stability of public education in the process. Even alumni and students at her alma mater, Calvin College, think it would be a terrible idea to confirm her as Education Secretary.