State Superintendent Sherri Ybarra made her second annual budget presentation to the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee on Thursday. In contrast to last year’s presentation where she was questioned about her brevity and lack of detail, Ybarra received positive reviews from the committee for her carefully crafted outline of her budget priorities and her vision for education in Idaho.
Ybarra’s budget proposal calls for a 7.5% increase in funding for public schools in 2016-2017, which translates to an increase of $110 million and a total budget of about $1.58 billion. Of particular note for teachers and other professional educators were these components:
- A 5.8% ($56,450,400) net increase for funding the second year of the Career Ladder salary allocation formula. An additional $41 million is proposed to bring pupil services personnel onto the Career Ladder. Ybarra reminded legislators that Career Ladder funding is “not synonymous with a statewide salary schedule”, and called the proposed funding levels “a great starting point for attracting and retaining teachers.”
- A restoration of operational/discretionary funding to 2009 levels, translating to $25,696 per support unit (roughly the equivalent of one classroom). Ybarra went on to point out that this amount does not account for inflation, and told the committee that “comparable is not synonymous with sufficient.”
- A $1.3 million increase in professional development funding, bringing the total to $14.6 million.
- $1.75 million for academic and college/career counseling.
- $15 million for technology, which represents a $2 million increase.
The State Department of Education has posted budget details and a copy of Ybarra’s presentation. Look for an IEA conversation with the Superintendent coming soon, and check out reaction to the JFAC presentation from Idaho Education News, and the Idaho Statesman.
House Ed Approves Computer Science Initiative
Two IEA members, Lindsay Lockwood and Nick Wadsworth, testified in favor of HB 379, which would create a computer science initiative for Idaho public schools. The STEM Action Center Board of Directors, the State Department of Education and the State Board of Education will collaborate to develop and implement the initiative. The legislation would require the creation of computer science standards for students, professional development grants for teachers to learn how to incorporate computer science in their classrooms, and the creation of post-secondary courses in computer science to meet workforce needs.
Remembering Christa McAuliffe
Thirty years ago, Christa McAuliffe and the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger were lost in a horrific accident. Today, we remember our education colleague with these words which are inscribed on her graveside memorial.
Wife, Mother, Teacher
Crew member, Space Shuttle Challenger
American’s first ordinary citizen to venture toward space
She helped people. She laughed. She loved and is loved. She appreciated the world’s natural beauty.
She was curious and sought to learn who we are and what the universe is about. She relied on her own judgment and moral courage to do right. She cared about the suffering of her fellow man. She tried to protect our spaceship earth. She taught her children to do the same.