“Governor Little’s budget proposal checks some important boxes, but it lacks the bold vision and initiative Idaho students deserve. Idaho’s prosperous economy, a budget surplus of more than $600 million, and a growing population make this an ideal time to show true commitment to our students, schools, and professional educators.
The restoration of funds cut through Gov. Little’s emergency holdback and funding growth in the Career Ladder to increase compensation for veteran teachers are certainly positive steps. So are his commitment to Advanced Opportunities, early childhood literacy, and the concept of establishing a mental health support structure in rural schools. Increasing broadband capability will also be a big help to students and schools.
However, Idaho remains 51st out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia in per-student funding. Insufficient state funding leads to record amounts of local levies year after year, which puts the property tax burden back on local communities and creates significant inequities in opportunity and access.
Personnel shortages and class sizes have been brought to the forefront by the pandemic. Idaho schools are dealing with a shortfall of personnel—not just teachers, but counselors, nurses, paraprofessionals, custodial staff, transportation workers, and the myriad of staff who contribute to the education and growth of our children. Support staff frequently work for subsistence wages and this budget ensures them another year of acute poverty.”
President, Idaho Education Association