Idaho’s Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) is hearing testimony this week as they begin the process of setting the state’s education budget. On Monday, State Board of Education President Emma Atchley expressed the Board’s support for the 2015-2016 education budget that has been proposed by Governor Otter. That proposal calls for a 7.4% increase in K-12 education funding, including $32 million to begin implementation of a career ladder pay structure for teachers and $20 million in discretionary funding for districts.
New State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra will formally present her budget proposal for K-12 education to JFAC on Thursday. The superintendent will have an opportunity to tweak her previous proposal, which called for a 6.4% increase in K-12 funding. Ybarra also says she favors increasing teacher pay by way of the career ladders, and may use Thursday’s testimony to clear up her stance in the preferred timeline for the career ladders and tiered certification proposals. Idaho Education News has a story on the differences between Ybarra’s and Otter’s budgets. In advance of assuming the superintendent’s post, Ybarra did a Q & A with the IEA Reporter about her background and vision for public education in Idaho.
As we discuss and debate our differences on public education funding and other issues, today is an opportune time to remember how fortunate we are to live in a democracy. Tuesday marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. More than 1.1 million people perished in the camp under a regime that viciously sought to eliminate ideas and ideals that were different from theirs.