Last week, it took less than 45 minutes for the Senate to unanimously approve the seven (7) bills that make up the $1.8 billion budget for public schools. On the Monday following the Easter break, it took the House about the same amount of time to address the bills that make up the FY 16 public schools appropriation; All but one bill received mild opposition, but no legislators debated against the bills.
The FY16 public schools appropriation increases state funding by $101 million, which is a 7.4% increase over the current fiscal year. The budget request provides a 3% increase in salary allocation dollars for administrators and education employees and also infuses $33.5 million into a new career ladder teacher pay proposal.
- Division of Administrators, SB 1183: provides funding for administrator salaries and funding to provide for training in strategic planning and training of administrators and school boards.
- Division of Teachers, SB 1184: provides funding for the career ladder and a 3% salary allocation for all pupil personnel service staff. In addition, this bill provides funding professional development for teachers.
- Division of Operations, SB 1185: provides additional funding for education support professionals, increases funding for classroom technology, increases discretionary funding, and provides funding for locally-hosted management systems (to replace the Schoolnet system that was previously paid for by the state).
- Division of Children’s Programs, SB 1186: provides increased funding for junior high and high school students to take advantage of advanced opportunities.
- Division of Facilities, SB 1187: provides for the bond levy equalization funding and $4.2 million for charter school facilities.
- SB 1188 provides funding for the School for the Deaf and Blind, and
- Central Services, SB 1189: provides for services that don’t flow directly to school districts but are utilized by the state for the benefit of schools such as state-level online alternative pathways to graduation and contracting for independent reviews of evaluations required under the new career ladder system.
The bills now make their way to the Governor to be signed in to law.
Governor Signs Anti-Bullying Bill
Late Monday afternoon, Governor Otter signed into law HB 246, the anti-bullying bill co-sponsored by Rep’s. Ilana Rubel (D-Boise), Pat McDonald (R-Boise), and Sen. Janie Ward Engelking (D-Boise). The new law will require school districts to train staff members on how to appropriately intervene should bullying occur, require districts to ensure students, staff and parents are informed of school district anti-bullying policies, and that school personnel intervene if they witness bullying, harassment or intimidation.
Spokesman Review reporter Betsy Russell was on hand and filed a report of the event. A number of parents and family members of individuals who took their own lives as a result of bullying also attended the bill-signing ceremony.