The Idaho Education Association joined with the Idaho School Boards Association and the Idaho Association of School Administrators in a letter containing position statements and suggestions regarding Idaho’s public school funding formula. The joint letter was delivered to the Funding Formula Committee in advance of its meeting on October 25.
The three primary education stakeholder groups agree that compensation for professional educators should be excluded from the funds being funneled into the formula. The IEA is concerned that the progress made through the Career Ladder salary allocation plan might be compromised if compensation is included in the new formula.
“Whether the Career Ladder is extended beyond its original five-year window
or some other plan is developed, we need to know that additional money
being allocated for teacher compensation is actually making it to teachers
in all districts,” says IEA President Kari Overall.
The joint letter also outlines the position of the education stakeholder groups on moving to an enrollment funding model, what line items should be included in the new funding formula, and what approach should be taken with the weights being considered by the committee. You can read the full letter from the IEA, ISBA, and IASA here. Joint Request Letter-Funding Formula
Public Will Get a Look at the Funding Formula Model Soon
The Funding Formula Committee made very few final decisions at their latest meeting, opting to wait until their final meeting on November 26 to lock in their recommendations. Even then, the committee acknowledged that they have only been building a framework for the decisions that will be made during the legislative session.
The third-party vendor building the funding formula model, Education Commission of the States, indicated they should have a version of the model to share with the public by the end of next week. The model has been beta-tested in recent weeks by several groups, including the IEA. ECS also stressed that feedback on the model is still being taken.
“Putting a Queen-Size Sheet on a King-Size Bed”
The public school funding formula remains a very fluid situation, with many key decisions still to make. Committee co-chair Chuck Winder (D-Boise) stressed the importance of being honest with the legislature about the cost of the potential new plan, especially once hold-harmless provisions are included. The letter from the IEA, ISBA, and IASA notes that just moving from an average daily attendance model to an enrollment model will require an additional $63 million.
The committee has been working with current year funding as the default numbers for the model and has focused on increased weighting for specific reasons. There has been little discussion about how funding increases might dampen the effects of creating winners and losers by moving money around. As Michael Griffith from ECS noted in his presentation, “it’s a little like trying to stretch a queen-size sheet onto a king-size bed.”